Can Godzilla make minivans cools again? Yes, but not without his permission, says Toho Co,, the rights-holders of the iconic Japanese monster.
Toho is suing Honda over a commercial with a Godzilla cameo, which it says increased sales of the Honda Odyssey minivan by 42% since the ad first aired. Toho is famous for its past legal aggression, suing, among others, Comcast, fast food giants, toy manufacturers and the city of Louisville. This is the second time that Toho has gone after Honda.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles yesterday, a pretty quick turnaround by Toho because Honda’s commercial aired during last month’s NFL playoff games and was mentioned in a story in the New York Times.
What makes Toho’s latest trademark and copyright claim so, um, fiendish, is the way that Godzilla was allegedly exploited in the ad in question. Truthfully, we had to watch it three times to spot Godzilla. Here’s it is. Don’t blink:
If not, perhaps you were distracted by Judas Priest. Why was Judas Priest’s permission obtained but not the owner of Godzilla? Toho demands an answer, plus an injunction and Honda’s profits for using the commercial.