Reuters is reporting that Disney has taken three Chinese firms to court over concerns that China-produced The Autobots copied elements from Disney/Pixar’s Cars.
A court in Shanghai held a hearing on Tuesday, a Disney spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters. The dispute was over “copyright infringement” and “unfair competition,” according to a notice on the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court website.
This is an example that as Disney pushes into China with succesful films and the recently opened Shanghai Disneyland, they continue to face counterfeit merchandise, resorts, and characters.
Zuo Jianlong, the director of “The Autobots” for production company Blue MTV, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday he was “relaxed” about a potential ruling.
“Lots of people online have talked about plagiarism, but it seems from the legal side that the matter is quite clear—at root there is no plagiaristic behavior,” he said. “If you put the two films side-by-side to compare them, then you will know they are completely different.”
Disney declined to comment further on the case.
The three Chinese firms involved in the suit are production company Blue MTV, media company Beijing G-Point, and online content platform PPLive.
An official for Beijing G-Point, who gave her name only as Ms Cheng, said the firms had hoped to reach a settlement, but Disney had been opposed to this. She added G-Point was not involved in production, but rather in the film’s distribution.
Reuters could not immediately reach PPLive for comment.