This week, the judge allowed a Kung Fu Panda copyright infringement case to move forward as there appears to be sufficient merit to the plaintiff’s claims that DreamWorks stole his idea for Kung Fu Panda and subsequently profited [greatly] from it.
The Hollywood Reporter outlines in detail the background to the case in which Jayme Gordon alleges that the studio knew of his idea and developed it internally subsequent to sending him a rejection letter.
DreamWorks naturally filed for summary judgement; basically claiming that the case shouldn’t go to trial because the evidence already uncovered is enough to warrant a decision. The judge denied this for the reasons below.
Where Things Get Interesting (And Relevant)
The case has already gotten much farther along than similar cases but already there is the potential that all is not what it seems. The judge has noted that Gordon admitted destroying his original documents after compiling them into a pitch bible. While Gordon claims that “I make a practice to shred everything. If I make a new book, I shred the old stuff.” his actions are cause for alarm.
Such actions are tantamount to destruction of evidence. Gordon knew that such materials would likely prove his case but he destroyed them. While that certainly harms him, it also serves to derail the cause of justice on the part of DreamWorks. If the original materials were different enough to prove their innocence, then they stand to lose a lot of money.
Although its far too early in the case to call it for one side or the other, its disconcerting that Gordon doesn’t have a solid record of his work. He claims to have registered his work with the copyright office but his date of registration was only two days prior to the release of the film although he claims the works were created in 1999.