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Netflix lawsuit highlights intellectual property infringement

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2020 | Intellectual Property |

Business owners in Georgia and around the country know that when they create a product, they need to protect it. The item or product they’ve created is their intellectual property. Often, business owners will get protections like patents and copyrights for a creation so that it can be protected and so no one else can use it without permission or compensation.

Companies sometimes use another company’s creation without permission. Those companies may interpret copyright and intellectual property laws differently than the owner does. When this happens, the original copyright holder might sue for damages. This is exactly what happened recently between the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Netflix.

The estate, which has a notorious record for being extremely litigious, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix for “Enola Holmes,” an upcoming film about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister. The suit accuses Netflix of copyright and trademark infringement, claiming that the upcoming film’s plot and stories are strikingly similar to existing content owned by the Doyle family. The estate said that Netflix and the production company pulled the stories from information and Doyle stories that were not yet in the public domain. The estate is also suing Penguin Random House, Legendary Pictures and the director of the film.

Some observers believe that this lawsuit is a move by the Doyle estate to eke out one remaining payoff before the Sherlock Holmes works move into the public domain. Once they enter the public domain, the estate will no longer benefit from them.

There are many complexities to this case that will need to be hammered out in court. One thing it makes clear is that when someone has intellectual property they want to protect, they need to do everything in their power to make sure that they’re covered on all sides. Creators and inventors may help protect their interests by working with law firms that have experience with intellectual property cases.