Warner Bros.' 'Hari Puttar' suit thrown out

Film will be released in India this weekend

NEW DELHI -- The Delhi High Court tossed out Warner Bros.' copyright infringement suit against Mumbai-based Mirchi Movies over "Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors," clearing the way for the film's release Friday.

In the suit, filed in August, Warners alleged that the "Hari Puttar" title was too similar to the studio's "Harry Potter" franchise. Monday's judgment stated that one of the factors leading to the dismissal was the studio's delay in filing a suit after filing a notice against Mirchi Movies in 2005 when the banner launched the project.

Regarding the film's title, the judgment stated that children who read "Harry Potter" books are "a different class of consumer who will not confuse 'Harry Potter' with 'Hari Puttar.' "

In a statement Monday, a London-based Warner Bros. spokesperson said: "We brought these proceedings because we believe that the proposed title and marketing of the defendants' film infringed our intellectual property rights and unfairly sought to confuse consumers and benefit from the well-known and well-loved 'Harry Potter' brand. As a content company, it is imperative that we continue to protect our valuable intellectual property rights in this property, and we will now be reviewing the judgment and considering our options."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mirchi Movies CEO Munish Purii said, while his company was happy with the judgment, "the proceedings have distracted us from focusing on marketing the film given we have signed major promotional deals with brands such as McDonald's, (food company) Britannia and (gaming company) Zapak, among others."

"Puttar" centers on a boy whose full name is Hari Prasad Dhoonda, whose father fondly calls him "Hari Puttar" ("Puttar" meaning "son" in the Punjabi language). Directed by Lucky Kohli and Rajesh Bajaj, the film follows Hari's adventures in safeguarding a software chip invented by his father that is sought by two villains.
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