Bleeding Cool has learnt that its owner Avatar Press and publisher William Christensen have served papers against James Cameron, Lightstorm Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners and 20th Century Fox Studios claiming for extensive compensation for the use and abuse of their trademarked name Avatar in the recent blockbuster movie of the same name.
Founded in April 1996, Avatar Press has published thousands of comics under the Avatar trademark over fourteen years. Including one book starring the individual that Wikipedia calls their flagship character, Pandora, pictured left, also the name used for the central location in Cameron’s Avatar movie.
And its that combination of factors that has finally gave cause for William Christensen, original creator of Pandora, to instruct his lawyer. Christensen told Bleeding Cool;
I first became aware of the Avatar movie last summer at the San Diego Comic Con. There were Avatar posters all across San Diego and in the convention center itself. And everyone who came by the Avatar booth thought it was something to do with us.
I thought about suing Cameron then but my lawyer advised me to wait until after he’s made hundreds of millions off the movie. And then sue him.
This weekend, James Cameron finally received his big royalty pay cheque from cinematic showings of the movie, as well as an advance payment on DVD and Blu Ray royalties that are hitting the stores.
Avatar’s lawyer, Travanj Budala, told Bleeding Cool;
Some people may see this as a mercenary move but it’s quite common practice. If we had sued James Cameron back last year, there was still time for him to have he changed the name of the movie and then we’d have got nothing. And indeed Fox themselves waited until past the point of no return, to sue Warners over the production of Watchmen, it’s a very similar case.
Budula expects that both sides will settle but told Bleeding Cool that, at the very least, Avatar can expect an eight figure settlement sum. Budula also states that, in a world first, the papers were printed in a special lenticular 3D format before being serving them to the involved parties.
William thought that Cameron might get a kick out of that and decide to settle sooner. you know, to show we’d gone out of our way to provide him with an experience.
If the court case does go to trial, it would take place one year from today.