The lawyers defending a so-called "independent" Star Trek fan-film are trying to pull of what could certainly be the biggest upset in judicial history if they can convince a federal court judge to remove the words "Star Trek" from a lawsuit about, well, Star Trek.
Erin Ranahan, who represents Axanar Productions and its principal Alec Peters, made the demand last month, saying that invoking the Star Trek name would not only turn a copyright infringement case into a trademark infringement case, but it would also confuse a jury.
Lawyers for CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures Inc., which sued Axanar and Peters in December 2015 for copyright infringement, shot back, calling Ranahan's demand "absurd."
"This is a copyright case, and defendants have denied copying Star Trek in order to create 'Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar' and 'Star Trek: Axanar,'" the lawyers said. "The fact that defendants (prior to the filing of this lawsuit) heavily used the term 'Star trek' in their works, in their promotional materials, and in every one of their discussions regarding the content of their works, is highly relevant to whether or not defendants intended to copy, and did copy, plaintiffs' works, and whether they were intended to be, and are in fact substantially similar, to plaintiffs' works."
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Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for 1701News, Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus, and a co-founder of 1701News. He lives in Tampa, Fla.Email author