Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: Courthouse News Service

Over the past couple of years the Japanese movie studio, Toho, has been more than willing to slap a lawsuit on anyone who creates anything that looks remotely like their iconic monster, "Godzilla".

In 2008 the Japanese movie company sued Subway (the fast-food sandwich franchise .... not the underground rail system) for putting a giant dinosaur, and a Japanese girl, in one of their commercials. Then in 2009 the studio went after Comcast Cable for putting a giant monster, who honestly looked a lot like "Godzilla", in one of their adds.

Now the target of Toho's monstrous lawyers is "Tuffzilla" a toy for dogs manufactured by VIP Products.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but it looks like Toho may have something to bitch about this time. As you can see from the photo provided, good old "Tuff-Z" looks a lot like "Big G". But is it enough of a likeness for such a lawsuit? As can be expected Toho says "Yes" and they intend on seeking damages and blocking VIP from selling the toy.

Honestly, it's not as much the look of the toy that has Toho all worked up, it's the verbiage in the company's advertising that has added fuel to this fire.

Here is an example:

TuffZilla - For decades the legendary Tuffzilla has ravaged villages, towns and cities alike. This unstoppable force was known worldwide. No one has been able to tame this terrible beast, until now... See who will win the epic battle between man’s best friend and one of man’s most feared enemies.

Ummm ....... well that sounds like a description of "Godzilla" alright.

In the end Toho will probably make VIP change the name of the toy and reword the adds, which just goes to prove that if you make anything that resembles "Godzilla" in any way, you had better talk to Toho's lawyers before you try and sell it.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.