May 2020 – Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP Partner Laura W. Brill recently authored a commentary in Bloomberg Law regarding the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court’s dismissal of Daniels v. The Walt Disney Co., a case involving the alleged infringement of Moodsters characters by Disney’s film Inside Out. Ms. Brill points out that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in this matter may ease some growing discomfort by the Court with Rule 12(b)(6) dismissals, and that this dismissal increases the likelihood that Ninth Circuit panels will treat literary works similarly to visual works and be open to 12(b)(6) dismissals when similarities are limited to elements that are not protectable.
“Because the Moodsters characters were not protectible, the Disney movie, Inside Out, did not infringe, although it, too, involved anthropomorphized emotions represented with different colors,” said Brill. “At the end of the day, when two works are before the court, and any similarities are too general or abstract to give rise to a claim, the case should be dismissed.”
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