The Tolkien estate and publisher HarperCollins are suing Warner Bros, New Line Cinema and the Saul Zaentz Company over allegedly unauthorised Lord of the Ring merchandise, claiming that the defendants do not have rights to release intangible goods such as mobile games.
The suit revolves around the historic merchandising rights to The Lord Of the Rings, which began in 1969 with the Zaentz Co, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Tolkien estate says these rights only include “tangible” merchandise, such as figurines and clothing and not exploitations “such as electronic or digital rights, rights in media yet to be devised or other intangibles such as rights in services”.
It claims that the defendants have overstepped this mark, with the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game, released in 2010, attracting particular ire. The estate says it has also learned of defendants’ plans for everything from ringtones to online games based around The Lord Of the Rings.