Court’s ruling ‘Element’-ary

Judgment awards Gaumont $364,000, calls ads 'parasitic'

PARIS — Luc Besson has won a lawsuit against advertising agency Publicis and mobile phone company SFR for “parasitism” of his character Lilou, played by Milla Jovovich in “The Fifth Element.”

A French court awarded Gallic major Gaumont, as the producer of “Element,” €300,000 ($364,000) in damages saying the ad campaign was “parasitic” and could “hinder the film.”

Campaign, created by Publicis for SFR, features Jovovich — Besson’s ex-wife — as a futuristic redhead who appears and disappears in various urban settings with a cell phone equipped with a digital camera.

A lawyer for Besson had argued against the ad on the grounds of plagiarism and parasitism. Court ruled that the companies were guilty of piggy-backing on the film, but not of plagiarism.Besson said in February that if he won the suit, he intended to give the money to charity. It’s unclear if Gaumont, as the recipient, intends to do so now.

A spokesman for SFR said the company has not yet received the judgment from Gaumont, a formal step in the proceedings. Once it is received, the company has a month to appeal the decision. The spokesman declined to comment on the likelihood of an appeal.

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