Nicholas Martin v Julia Kogan [2017] EWHC 2927 (IPEC) and [2017] EWHC 3266 (IPEC)

4 December 2017

In this case Ashton Chantrielle, led by Simon Malynicz QC of 3 New Square, appeared for Ms Kogan, the Defendant/ Part 20 Claimant, and Jonathan Hill appeared for the film company Part 20 Defendants.

Mr Nicholas Martin sought a declaration that he was the sole author of the screenplay for the film ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. Julia Kogan counterclaimed that she was a co-author of the screenplay and that the Claimants and the Part 20 Defendants had infringed her copyright by producing and releasing the film.

His Honour Judge Hacon found that Ms Kogan’s contribution had not been enough to qualify her as a joint author of the screenplay pursuant to s10(1) of the CDPA 1988. The film therefore did not infringe any copyright owned by Ms Kogan. He also concluded that had it been necessary to consider it, the film companies’ defence of estoppel would have succeeded.

At the costs hearing, the Judge considered his judgment in PPL v Hagan [2016] EWHC 3076 (IPEC) on cost consequences of a successful Part 36 offer to settle on the IPEC cost caps, holding that the costs cap should be lifted in the case of claimant’s Part 36 offers (normally by applying a 25% uplift to the cap), but not defendant’s. He also held that a separate IPEC costs cap applied to the Part 20 claim against the film companies.

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