Court frees Indian film from Harry Potter spell

Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:32am EDT
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By Vipul Tripathi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian court has cleared a Bollywood film accused of plagiarizing the "Harry Potter" brand, saying viewers would not confuse the international film and book series with "Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors."

Dismissing the plea against the Hindi-language film, Delhi High Court said Warner Bros., which owns the rights to Harry Potter movies, had made "belated attempt to trip up" the film.

"Viewed from any angle, the plaintiffs have failed to establish a prima facie case for the grant of an ad interim injunction," Justice Reva Khetrapal said in an order Monday obtained by Reuters.

The Hollywood studio had started proceedings against the makers of "Hari Puttar" over similarities to the Harry Potter brand, said Warner Bros. spokeswoman Deborah Lincoln.

The producers of "Hari Puttar" said they had registered the title more than two years ago and the film bore no resemblance to the "Harry Potter" franchise.

"Justice Reva Khetrapal said the class of viewers was such that they would not get confused with the title of the film," Pratibha Singh, the defense counsel, told Reuters.

"A Hindi-speaking, rural child would not have heard of Harry Potter, while the English-speaking, urban viewer would be so well versed with Harry Potter that there would be no reason for them to be confused," Singh quoted the judge as saying.

Warner Bros. said it had sued the Indian company to defend its intellectual property rights because the title "Hari Puttar" "unfairly" sought to confuse consumers and benefit from the well-known and well-loved Harry Potter brand.   Continued...

<p>A boy sells balloons near a replica of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series in Kolkata, October 16, 2007. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw</p>