Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate reach an “amicable” settlement after five years of litigation
Remember those epic online slots featuring JRR Tolkien’s famous Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, sadly and suddenly withdrawn several years ago?
A lawsuit over an alleged “abuse of merchandising rights” associated with the licence has raged between the Tolkien family and licensee Warner Bros for the past five years, but has now come to an “amicable” close.
It was a closure that cost Warner Bros GBP 62 million in a legal settlement, and what the licensee claims is millions in lost sales.
The fight started when Priscilla Tolkien, daughter of the legendary British author, allied with her father’s publishers HarperCollins to sue the studio over abuse of merchandising rights, claiming that Warner went too far in developing video games and apps based on the cult novels in contravention of the 1969 licensing rights, which granted only permission to develop figurines, stationery and clothing.
The family claimed that Tolkien fans were further upset when characters from the novels started appearing in online slot games, albeit quality productions from top developers.