Apr 4, 2023
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John lewis wins legal case over Christmas ad

Apr 4, 2023

John Lewis has won a case brought against it by self-published author Fay Evans who alleged its 2019 Christmas ad infringed her copyright.

John Lewis

The ad starred a trouble-making dragon and Evans had alleged there was a “striking similarity” between her Fred the Fire-Sneezing Dragon character (who’d appeared in her self-published picture book in 2017) and John Lewis’s dragon, Edgar.

But the High Court judge ruled that Edgar — who went on to feature in a book called Excitable Edgar — didn't infringe any copyright and that fire-sneezing dragons were a very old idea, referencing The King James Bible.

Both dragons sneezed flames and caused chaos but eventually won humans over by using those sneezes to cook their food.

The author had sued the retailer and its agency, Adam&EveDDB, but the judge said that “there can be no copyright infringement without copying, and there can be no copying if the work alleged to have been copied has not been accessed by those said to have copied it”.

The judge also said that the few similarities between the two characters and were a result of “coincidence rather than copying”.

The John Lewis ad’s idea was found to have originated back in 2016.

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