Saturday 1 October 2016

Author seeking to pursue legal claim over Bridge Of Spies film

Published 12/02/2016 | 15:46

Steven Spielberg's film Bridge Of Spies is at the centre of a court battle
Steven Spielberg's film Bridge Of Spies is at the centre of a court battle

An author has launched legal proceedings over Steven Spielberg's Hollywood hit Bridge Of Spies.

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Giles Whittell, who wrote a non-fiction book of the same name in 2010, is suing two DreamWorks companies and Twentieth Century Fox.

In September last year, Mr Whittell alleged that he owned goodwill attaching to the title Bridge Of Spies and that the use of it for the film would amount to passing off.

Both book and film concern the exchange of pilot Gary Powers and Soviet spy Rudolph Abel on the Glienicke bridge in Berlin.

That claim was settled in November with one term being that Dreamworks and Fox were required within 14 days to use reasonable endeavours to place a link on the film website to three websites, including Amazon, which were advertising Mr Whittell's book.

Another term involved Mr Whittell releasing all claims against the companies and their affiliates throughout the world.

The link was placed by the end of November - slightly later than anticipated, say Dre amworks and Fox, because of Amazon's website not being in their control and the Thanksgiving holidays.

Three days before that, Mr Whittell issued a claim alleging a breach of the reasonable endeavours clause and that his worldwide release of all claims was anti-competitive and therefore void.

In papers at a preliminary hearing before Mr Justice Mann at London's High Court on Friday, Dreamworks and Fox said that, at best, the breach of contract claim was worth less than £4,000 if liability - which is denied - was established.

They said that, through the competition claim, which they described as hopeless, Mr Whittell wanted to set aside the settlement agreement so he could sue for passing off, unfair competition and trade mark or copyright infringement in different jurisdictions around the world.

Press Association

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