Man in Kung Fu Panda lawsuit guilty of fraud

BOSTON • A Massachusetts man was found guilty by a federal jury of backdating drawings he relied on as evidence in his lawsuit against DreamWorks Animation that claimed he had invented the title character in the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda.

A federal jury in Boston convicted Jayme Gordon, 51, on four counts of wire fraud and three counts of perjury on Friday, after prosecutors accused him of lying in a 2011 lawsuit against the Hollywood studio, the United States Attorney's Office in Massachusetts said in a statement.

Prosecutors charged that Gordon backdated drawings of a high-kicking bear named Po in 2008 after seeing an early trailer for the film, and then used them to try to extract a US$12 million (S$17 million) settlement from DreamWorks Animation.

Some of the drawings Gordon relied on had been traced from a colouring book featuring Walt Disney characters from the 1994 film The Lion King, prosecutors said.

Gordon agreed to dismiss his lawsuit after DreamWorks, which also produced the Madagascar and How To Train Your Dragon films, discovered the tracing.

By that time, though, the company had spent US$3 million defending itself against the litigation.

Gordon faces 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charges and five years for the perjury charges.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 20, 2016, with the headline 'Man in Kung Fu Panda lawsuit guilty of fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe