According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, CBS has been sued in federal court over copyright infringement concerning a puppet, Bert the Hippo. Bert gained popularity on the show “NCIS” and is famous for emitting bodily sounds associated with too much intestinal gas.
Relief sought: Bert and his antics got to be so famous that CBS started selling the puppet online. The manufacturer, Folkmanis Inc., is the plaintiff in the case and claims that it was the original creator of Bert and holds the exclusive rights. The plaintiff was working with CBS on a special edition of Bert (with a spiked collar) when CBS allegedly made a deal with a Chinese toy company to make an unlicensed version of the gassy critter. Folkmanis is suing for $733,000 in lost profits from the defendant’s sale of the phony toy.
According to the report, a CBS spokesperson made this comment: “We believe this to be a flatulent abuse of the legal system, and we intend to clear the air on this matter immediately.”