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Universal Says MGM Is Trying to ‘Scare Away Competitors’ in James Bond Lawsuit

Universal is seeking to dismiss MGM’s lawsuit claiming that a project called “Section 6” infringes on its copyrights to James Bond, with U claiming that its rival was trying to gain an “unfounded monopoly on the British spy genre” and even scare away potential competition to the 007 franchise.

In April, MGM and producer Danjaq filed suit against Universal and screenwriter Aaron Berg after the studio acquired Berg’s script, “Section 6,” which the plaintiffs contend is a ripoff of their enduring franchise. Universal, however, argues that it has yet to give the project the greenlight, and that they have assured MGM and Danjaq that their movie would not violate their copyrights.

Universal claims that MGM and Danjaq “rushed to file this needless action” as a way to “scare away” any would-be competitors to Bond.

“Plaintiffs’ claims against Universal are instead based upon wholly conclusory allegations in which they speculate ….that Universal is in the process of using Berg’s initial draft as the basis for a revised draft and/or a motion picture that they simple assume will infringe on the Bond works when and if it is created,” Universal said in its motion to dismiss filed on Tuesday. “Such threadbare allegations about hypothetical future infringement in works yet to be produced are simply not actionable.”

The studio goes on to say that were it to produce a movie that did infringe on James Bond, MGM and Danjaq could still take legal action.

Berg’s attorneys also filed a motion to dismiss, contending that the Bond works and his screenplay lack substantial similarity and that some of MGM’s claims of infringement are for ideas that aren’t protected by copyright.

A hearing in the case is scheduled in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on June 30.

MGM is represented by R0bert Schwartz of O’Melveny & Myers; Universal is represented by Bert Fields and Aaron Moss of Greenberg Glusker and Berg by David Aronoff of Lathrop & Gage.

 

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