Protecting Fictional Characters

Protecting Fictional Characters: Could You Legally Write A New Harry Potter Novel?

BY OLIVER HERZFELD, FORBES IP COUNSEL, OCTOBER 24, 2012 - Sony Computer Entertainment has featured the fictional character “Kevin Butler” portraying a Sony employee in a series of advertisements for its PlayStation 3 game system. Sony recently filed a complaint against Bridgestone Tires over an advertisement featuring the same actor, allegedly portraying Kevin Butler as a Bridgestone employee, using and speaking excitedly about the competing Nintendo Wii game system. The case provides a good opportunity to review the laws relating to the protection of fictional characters which implicate unauthorized sequels and adaptations of existing works, the popular and widespread subculture of fan fiction, and many other applications.