The Wall Street Journal reports that the latest development in the Winnie The Pooh royalties dispute has The Walt Disney Co. claiming new exclusive world-wide licensing rights to the franchise’s characters.
The company says the new rights were granted by both Clare Milne, granddaughter of late author A.A. Milne, and Minette Hunt, granddaughter of late illustrator E.H. Shepard.
Disney reportedly asserts that the heirs have terminated certain merchandising rights held by multiple parties and consolidated them all with Disney, effective Nov. 2004.
Disney claims that the action revokes rights held by Stephen Slesinger Inc. The Mouse House has been in a bitter legal battle with the Slesinger family, which alleges that Disney owes them hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.
Winnie The Pooh generates approximately $1 billion in annual revenue for Disney.