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September 7, 2004

Disney Enterprises has lost its bid to set a aside an attachment order against its South African-registered trademarks, enabling the family of musician Solomon Linda to sue them for royalties in a South African court. Pretoria High Court Judge Hekkie Daniels on Tuesday dismissed Disney's application against the executors of Linda's estate, which represents the musician's three daughters. The executors obtained an attachment order in July against the more than 240 locally registered Disney trademarks, including well-known marks such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Disney. Disney claimed that Mr SG Griesel, who instituted the damages claim on behalf of the estate, had not been appointed properly as executor by the Master of the High Court and did not have authority to represent the estate of the late Linda.

On Disney's claim that the estate had not made out any case against it because it was never a producer or distributor of the film The Lion King, Daniels pointed out that both the actual perpetrator and the person who instigated or instructed the doing of that act could infringe copyright. He said the estate at this stage did not have evidence directly linking Disney Enterprises to the alleged infringement of the copyright by its subsidiary in South Africa. But these were early days and he was satisfied that at least a prima facie case had been made out.

Posted by acapnews at September 7, 2004 9:28 PM