Paramount, Disney, Fox Settle Lawsuits Over Stolen VFX Tech

By Chanak Maduranga

Published on:

Paramount, Disney, Fox Settle Lawsuits Over Stolen VFX Tech
Spread the love

Visual effects company Rearden has settled one of the last remaining lawsuits over the unlicensed use of its motion-capture technology by major Hollywood studios, this time with Paramount.

Both sides on Monday moved to dismiss the lawsuit, which accused Paramount of infringing on Rearden’s VFX software called MOVA Contour in the 2015 film Terminator Genisys, according to a court filing. With the move, Rearden draws to a close a legal blitz on studios that it started in 2017 when it filed blockbuster complaints demanding courts block the release of several films from Disney, Fox and Paramount that featured characters made with the stolen tech.

The agreement follows Rearden last month reaching deals to resolve identical lawsuits involving use of MOVA in Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Deadpool, Fantastic Four and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Terms of the settlements weren’t disclosed.

Possibly playing a part in the decision to settle the cases: An Oakland jury awarding Disney just $600,000 after finding that the company infringed on Rearden’s technology to animate CG characters in Beauty and the Beast. The figure represented a fraction of the damages that Disney stood to lose in the case, which threatened profits for Beauty. Rearden looked for more $100 million, arguing that the movie’s box office success was due to VFX work performed by MOVA. The award signaled that jurors didn’t credit a large portion of Beauty’s box office earnings to Rearden’s tech. Of Disney’s $255 million in profits for the film, they attributed roughly $345,00 to use of the software.

Five months after Beauty opened in theaters, Disney was sued by Rearden for improperly using its tech in three movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy and multiple Avengers installments. At the core of the dispute was whether DD3, the company Disney and other studios teamed up with, owned the tech. A complicated chain of title, involving a bankruptcy and a fraudulent sale, effectively led to confusion around ownership and licensures.

Rearden, a firm incubated by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Perlman, sued Paramount in 2017, alleging that MOVA was used to de-age Arnold Schwarzenegger. The lawsuit looked for a portion of the movie’s profits.

In a 2016 prequel to the legal saga between Rearden and Disney, a federal judge froze Digital Domain’s licensures of MOVA in a preliminary injunction targeting DD3 affiliate Shenzhen Haiticheng Science and Technology and Virtual Global Holdings, a British Virgin Islands-based firm that thought it owned MOVA and licensed it to DD3. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar found that the companies had behaved “fraudulently” in transferring ownership of the tech among various Chinese firms. The order set the stage for Rearden to go after various studios that used the tech. 

Paramount and Kelly Klaus, a lawyer for the studios, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

Leave a Comment