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Florida Intellectual Property Attorney Takes on Disney Company

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As a Florida patent attorney and the author of the Florida Intellectual Property Law Blog, I often receive press releases and news submissions relating to Florida intellectual property matters.  I received the following press release today regarding another case by Florida intellectual property attorneys Silverman Santucci, LLP concerning alleged violations of Florida trade secret law:

For immediate release by PRceptions:

Tim Allen and Touchtone Pictures Sued Over Wild Hogs Rip-Off

One week before the national release of the much publicized John Travolta road comedy, Wild Hog’s, Travolta’s co-star, and Hollywood funny man, Tim Allen, and Disney’s Touchtone Pictures, are being sued for theft of trade secrets under Florida law. The suit is still pending.

If South Florida screen writers Steven Battaglia and Paul Danner get their way, and the Florida courts aprove, all money generated by the movie will be deposited in a trust fund pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that on two occasions, first in 2000 on the set of the Touchstone movie The Crew, and then again in 2002 on the set of another Touchstone release Big Trouble starring Tim Allen, Battaglia handed copies of his work to agents and representatives of Touchtone Pictures and to one of Tim Allen’s personal assistants. Writer Steven Battaglia is a well known South Florida based hair dresser who works on movie sets in the area. Paul Danner is a author/screen writer with extensive credentials as well as being a police detective in South Florida.

The action, was filed in Broward County Florida Circuit Court, the same court recently hearing the Anna Nicole Smith case. Intellectual property attorneys Silverman Santucci, LLP represent the plaintiff Battle One Productions, Inc., a Florida production company, concerning a story treatment and script written by two South Florida based screen writers, Steven Battaglia and Paul Danner. In 1999 the two writers created and authored a proprietary treatment and script entitled The Harvey Davidson Gang. The production company has asked the courts to enter a judgment on their behalf requiring Touchtone and various other named defendants to provide an accounting of revenues derived from the release of Wild Hogs. They also asked that the court set up a "constructive trust"  to secure these revenues and that Battle One Productions be compensated by all defendants for "unjust enrichment" due to the use of Battaglia’s and Danner’s intellectual property.

Attorney Michael Santucci is quoted as saying," We are eager to get this case to trial. This happens all too often in tinsel-town. These media giants shouldn’t get away with trampling on the intellectual property rights of independent writers and artists."

Similar to this action, Mr. Santucci and his firm have been involved in many high profile intellectual property cases. He was an original member of the litigation team with the late Johnnie Cochran, Willie E. Gary and Melvin K. Silverman in the 2000 landmark intellectual property case of All Pro Sports Camps, Inc. vs. Walt Disney Company in which he helped obtain a record $240,000,000 record jury verdict for his clients against the media giant. Touchtone is also a Disney company.  Others being named in the law suit are Tollin/Robins Productions, owned by Clear Channel Communications, Boxing Cat Productions, Inc. a Tim Allen company, and Stacy Morris, Tim Allen’s personal assistant.

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