Friday judgment expected in Disney-MGM suit

The legal roaring over who can use MGM’s celebrated name and logo on studio theme parks subsided yesterday as Walt Disney and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lawyers turned the non-jury lawsuit over to the judge.

Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe must decide if Disney broke a 1985 licensing deal with MGM by building a working studio at its Disney-MGM Studios in Florida.

Final arguments, which had covered parts of three days for several weeks, concluded with Rappe remarking that the attorneys were so persuasive that he felt pulled back and forth as each spoke.

He said he would contemplate away from the emotion of the courtroom and make his decision available by midday Friday.

Rappe also must rule on Disney’s countersuit that says MGM Grand Inc., a separate company from the studio, is violating Disney’s exclusive right to put the MGM name on a studio theme park by using it on a Las Vegas theme park.

The MGM Grand park is part of a $ 1 billion hotel-casino complex under construction.

Terry Christensen, representing the film studio, said that MGM had appropriately assigned broad rights to MGM Grand to use the famous lion logo and the words MGM extensively so long as they were connected to hotel-gambling business.

“Disney has been dramatically overstating its exclusivity rights under the 1985 contract,” Christensen said.

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