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One thing’s for sure: If a small Los Angeles-based production company’s copyright infringement lawsuit against “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane ever reaches trial, the oral testimonies will be quite colorful.
Bengal Mangle Productions L.L.C. claims the titular character in Mr. MacFarlane’s 2012 movie “Ted” — a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking anthropomorphic teddy bear voiced by Mr. MacFarlane — was based almost entirely on a character the company created several years prior to the film’s release, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a Los Angeles federal court.
In the lawsuit, Bengal Mangle claims Mr. MacFarlane’s Ted character’s interests, mannerisms and back story are strikingly similar to those belonging to “Charlie,” an alcoholic, drug-addicted stuffed bear featured in a series of Web videos it produced in 2009.
While no direct interaction between Bengal Mangle and Mr. MacFarlane or any of the companies associated with the production and distribution of his film is alleged in the lawsuit, Bengal Mangle claims the videos featuring the Charlie character were widely available on YouTube.com and other websites.
“Each defendant knew, or should have reasonably known that Charlie was protected by copyright and that ‘Ted’ and the Ted character infringed on Bengal Mangle’s copyright,” the company claims in its lawsuit.
Bengal Mangle is seeking a permanent injunction against Mr. MacFarlane and his production companies, Fuzzy Door Productions Inc. and Thunder Buddies L.L.C., as well as Universal Pictures Inc. and several of its subsidiaries, which distributed his film. Additionally, Bengal Mangle has asked for unspecified compensatory and statutory damages and a disgorgement of profits earned from various uses of the Ted character.