GODZILLA TAKES ON HONDA MOTOR COMPANY
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, Feb 18, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
FROM WIRE SERVICE REPORTS
Remember the 1971 cult classic movie, “Godzilla versus the Smog Monster”? Toho Co. Ltd, the company that made the giant lizard famous (and owns the copyright to Godzilla) has produced a sequel.
In the original, the role of the smog monster was played by an alien life form called Hedorah that feeds on Earth's pollution and grows into a poisonous, acid-secreting sea monster. In this sequel, the role is played by the environmentally friendly carmaker, Honda.
And this time, it’s for real.
Toho Co. Ltd, it turns out, is suing American Honda Motor Co. in Los Angeles, claiming the carmaker used the menacing lizard's likeness without authorization in a commercial for the Odyssey minivan.
The movie company filed the complaint in U.S. District Court seeking an injunction against Honda's use of the commercial, which Toho says is an infringement of its copyright.
According to the complaint filed in court, the commercial "uses heavy metal rock band Judas Priest, Marshall amplifiers and Godzilla to reinvent and sell a new image for its Odyssey minivan. Presumably Judas Priest and Marshall were asked, gave permission, and received payment to be associated with Honda's Odyssey minivan. Plaintiff Toho Co. Ltd., the owner of the world-famous Godzilla character, was not."
Toho's attorneys contend they sent Honda a cease-and-desist letter after learning of the commercial. "Instead, Honda and its advertising agency expanded their exploitation of the commercial, including broadcasting it nationally during the 2011 NFL divisional playoffs and conference championship games (some of the most-watched sporting events of the year)," asserts the plaintiff’s attorneys.
According to the lawsuit, Toho is responsible for more than two dozen Godzilla movies and related toys, books and video games. “Toho has owned the Godzilla copyright since the early 1950s and registered the name and image as trademarks in 1981,” said Toho attorney Charles N. Shephard. Toho seeks unspecified damages and an order barring broadcast of the commercial.
The first Godzilla was released in 1954 in Japan under the name Gojira. The American version was named Godzilla. To date, Toho has produced 28 Godzilla films. In 1996, the character received an MTV Lifetime Achievement Award.