U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper determined that Disney -- not the Slesinger family -- controlled the copyright and trademark to the bear and his forest friends.
"Stephen Slesinger Inc. transferred all of its rights in the Pooh works to Disney, and may not now claim infringement of any retained rights," Cooper wrote in her ruling.
Cooper's decision -- which brings to an end the two lawsuits outstanding -- means that Disney is free to exploit Pooh. However, the company must continue to pay royalties to the Slesinger family when Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang appear in movies, merchandise and other products.
But what amused me a bit was the report at the end.
Slesinger's daughter, Patricia Slesinger, said Monday that she hoped the latest Cooper ruling would allow the two sides to cooperate with each other, as they once did.
"Judge Florence Cooper provided a potential and elegant middle-ground solution that will allow us to go forward with our business relationship -- hopefully without more litigation," Slesinger said.
Hello? It took you how long to realize this?