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Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald's Corp.

562 F.2d 1157 (1977)

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Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

562 F.2d 1157 (1977)

Facts

Sid and Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. (plaintiff) created a popular children’s television show called H.R. Pufnstuf that launched in 1969. The series included fanciful costumed characters who lived on Living Island, a fantasyland inhabited by moving trees and talking books. In 1970, the Kroffts were approached by a marketing firm about using the H.R. Pufnstuf characters in a commercial advertising campaign for the McDonald’s (defendant) restaurant chain. The marketing firm later informed the Kroffts that the campaign had been cancelled when, in fact, it had been awarded the campaign and was proceeding with its McDonaldland project. Former employees of the Kroffts were hired to design and construct the costumes and sets for McDonaldland, and the same voice actor who supplied all of the voices for the H.R. Pufnstuf characters was also hired. The first of the McDonaldland commercials was broadcast in 1971, and the Kroffts brought suit for infringement. The trial court held in favor of the Kroffts, and McDonald’s appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carter, J.)

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