Warner Bros. is going after the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien hard in litigation over online slot machines and games tied to the lucrative Lord of the Rings and Hobbit properties.
In November, the Tolkien estate and and its book publisher HarperCollins filed an $80 million lawsuit that claimed that Rings/Hobbit producers including Warner Bros. had infringed the copyright in the books and breached a contract by overstepping their rights.
Rings/Hobbit rightsholder Saul Zaentz Co. already made their own counterclaim that the Tolkien estate has breached an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by going down this road.
Now, it’s Warners’ turn.
The studio, represented by pitbull attorney Daniel Petrocelli, is now striking back at the Tolkien estate with amended counterclaims that alleges the Tolkien estate’s repudiation has cost Warners to miss out on millions of dollars of licensing opportunities. The studio demands damages for the alleged breach of contract.