Restoring U.S. Copyright Protection for Iconic Doll
The "Good Luck Troll" Trounces Knock-Offs
Thomas Dam, the founder of Troll Company, created the first Good Luck Troll doll in Denmark as a present for his daughter. The fuzzy-haired Good Luck Troll became enormously popular, first in Denmark and then throughout the rest of the world, including the United States. But in 1965, the U.S. copyright for the Good Luck Troll was forfeited because a licensee distributed copies of the doll without the proper copyright notice required at that time. As a result, a number of other companies began selling copies with impunity.
Troll Company, which is still in the Dam family, approached Fross Zelnick for help after U.S. legislation in 1996 restored copyright protection to certain foreign authors who had lost their rights for failure to comply with statutory formalities unique to the earlier U.S. copyright laws. Troll Company needed to “put the genie back in the bottle” after the Good Luck Troll had been in the public domain for decades.
Through a series of enforcement actions, Fross Zelnick stopped numerous producers, distributors and retailers from selling their copies of the Good Luck Troll in the U.S., and recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for Troll Company. We also helped to press some of the largest entertainment companies in the world to redress their past unauthorized uses of the Good Luck Troll and take licenses for their use in future motion pictures and television programs.
These enforcement efforts recently culminated in a highly publicized decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed Troll Company’s exclusive ownership of the restored copyright in the Good Luck Troll and upheld an injunction against Uneeda Doll Company’s distribution of look-alike "Wish-nik" troll dolls.