LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Can Godzilla go up against Honda Motor Co. and win?

The Japanese company that owns the copyright to the iconic monster is suing, claiming the carmaker has used the Godzilla’s likeness without authorization in a commercial for the Odyssey minivan.

Toho Co. Ltd. filed the complaint in U.S. District Court seeking an injunction against Honda’s use of Godzilla, claiming copyright infringement.

A Honda spokesman declined comment.

The lawsuit claims the TV spot “uses heavy metal rock band Judas Priest, Marshall amplifiers and Godzilla to reinvent and sell a new image for its Odyssey minivan. Presumably Judas Priest and Marshall were asked, gave permission, and received payment to be associated with Honda’s Odyssey minivan Plaintiff Toho Co. Ltd., the owner of the world-famous Godzilla character, was not.”

After learning of the commercial, Toho’s attorneys sent Honda a cease-and-desist letter, according to the lawsuit. Toho is seeking unspecified damages and an order barring broadcast of the commercial.

Toho attorney Charles N. Shephard said Toho has owned the Godzilla copyright since the early 1950s and registered the name and image as trademarks in 1981.

Godzilla has starred in 28 films since 1956. All were produced by Toho Co., which also authorized Godzilla comic books, animation, posters, video games and books.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (3)
  1. Mike Saifie says:

    Another reason to sue 🙂

  2. David Harrell says:

    My King Kong can beat up your Godzilla.

  3. Wesley R. Elsberry says:

    Toho Co. better look out for Honda’s rebuttal. “Judas Priest” wasn’t compensated by Honda because Honda knows that the song “Godzilla” is by US rock group “Blue Oyster Cult”. Asserting false “facts” in the complaint is not going to go over well in court.

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