Walt Disney's ongoing legal battle over cartoon bear Winnie The Pooh
is set to continue after a petition was filed to end the company's trademark ownership rights of the character. Film company Stephen Slesinger Inc, which has owned the rights to the character created by A.A. Milne since the 1930s, has submitted a request to the U.S. Patent Office to terminate the trademark Disney holds over the bear and his friends.
Disney has responded by claiming Stephen Slesinger Inc's allegations are not new, and have already been raised in an ongoing lawsuit between the two companies.
Jonathan Friedland, a spokesperson for Disney, dismissed the new chapter in the long-running legal battle, saying, "This is by no means anything more than the 'same old, same old'."
It is the latest case in a series of legal wrangles over the bear. In 1991, Slesinger sued Disney over owed royalties, and sought to cancel a 1983 licensing agreement with the animation giant. A case was filed in 2002 by Disney and Milne's granddaughter Clare Milne to end Slesinger's rights to Winnie the Pooh, but was rejected by the US Supreme Court.
The court hearings are scheduled to take place in Spring 2007.
(This news article provided by World Entertainment News Network)