In the Westlaw Journal article “California Court Says ‘Avatar’ Not Substantially Similar to Science Fiction Work,” partner Lee Brenner and associate Andreas Becker discuss the court case appeal of Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment Inc. et al. The plaintiff, Eric Ryder, argued that elements of his sci-fi story “KRZ-2068” were similar to those in the movie “Avatar” directed by James Cameron. After a lengthy appeal before the California appellate court, Ryder lost his idea submission lawsuit.
Although Ryder claimed he gave Lightstorm development executive Jay Sanders a copy of “KRZ”, Cameron did not read it and Lightstorm passed on the project. The court determined that “no rational jury could conclude the actionable elements in “KRZ” and “Avatar” were similar, which defeats an inference of use as a matter of law.” There was not enough evidence to show that “Avatar” used parts of “KRZ,” and therefore not enough evidence to prove that any harm was done.