(LOS ANGELES) — A month after the producers of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey sued a California company for its film Age of the Hobbits, a Los Angeles judge has temporarily blocked the Tuesday DVD release of the so-called “mockbuster.”
The block could become a permanent ban after another hearing in January, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Warner Bros.’ New Line Cinema, MGM, and the Saul Zaentz Company — the studios behind the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies — claimed the low budget film from The Asylum was a “confusing and misleading” knock-off. The studios demanded the Hobbits’ producers cease using the word “Hobbits” in its film, and to destroy all ad materials and packaging that features the trademarked word.
The Asylum defended itself by saying that it had fair use to use “Hobbits,” saying the word referred to a real-life human subspecies, Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Judge Phillip Gutierrez disagreed, ruling in a Los Angeles court on Monday that, “The majority of factors weigh in favor of a finding of likelihood of confusion” between the straight-to-video adventure film and the big-screen adaptations of the J.R.R. Tolkien book.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in theaters on Dec. 14.
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