This year, artist Jayme Gordon started a lawsuit against animation giant Dreamworks, claiming that his work had been stolen to create Kung Fu Panda , which grossed 630 million dollars in the box office. Last tuesday, Gordon suddenly pulled out of the lawsuit. He agreed to dismiss the case which ensures that he isn’t allowed to bring it up again.

I had no idea this was going on, and I’m sure not a lot of people do either. Here’s the scoop from the article:

In the lawsuit, Gordon said he developed the “Kung Fu Panda property” in the 1990s and his work featured “a Kung Fu fighting giant panda who likes to eat; his companion, a rare small red panda who also is a Kung Fu fighter; and a Kung Fu fighting super group known as the ‘Five Fists of Fury’ that consists of a tiger, crane, mantis, monkey and a venomless snake.”

Perhaps most impressive was his 2000 copyright registration and the side-by-side comparison that was offered in his complaint.

Here is the picture in question.

Side by side comparison of Gordon’s sketches (left) and final rendered characters from Dreamwork’s movies.

Looks suspicious to me even if I don’t know the full story. However, many suggest, including Dreamwork’s lawyers, that Gordon had copied the idea himself from a 1996 disney coloring book, which he traced to come up with some of the character designs.

I suppose Dreamworks can sleep better tonight. However, it would have been interesting to see this lawsuit if it had played out.