Legal Update 3-8-16



Yesterday, Defendants Axanar Productions and Alec Peters, through their legal counsel, Winston & Strawn, filed a document notifying the court that Plaintiffs CBS Studios and Paramount failed to properly respond to Defendants’ motion to dismiss, which was filed on February 22, 2016.  Under the rules, Plaintiffs were required to file either an opposition or a statement of non-opposition by February 29, 2016.  They did neither.


Please note this does not mean that the case is over, merely that the plaintiffs will need to file an amended complaint.


  • …very interesting 😉

    assuming everything was properly served… What does this say about the original suit (and it’s backers)? (That it’s B.S., and they are looking desperate and half-assed?)

    but if this sloppy attempt is dismissed, won’t they just come back with something (supposedly) better?

    …anyway, for the time-being: GOOD ONE! =D

  • JR says:

    Well, that is certainly an interesting plot twist. This would be a good time for a fade-to-black with the ‘dun-dun-dun’ music in the background.

  • Mike Raven says:

    What does this mean??? It sounds like Paramount and CBS are backing off.

    • Alec Peters says:

      No, not at all. Just them deciding to amend their complaint in lieu of responding to their motion.

      • JR says:

        It still reflects badly on two large media companies that want to desperately try and stop something great. I wish they just gave it up; it’s so pointless and time wasting.

      • Bob Franklin says:

        Yeah, guessing they’re going for more specificity this go-round. The complaint in its original form was entirely vague & wide in scope to fly, & they knew it. The fact that they couldn’t draw the damn thing up at the start inspires hope in me. You guys might just come out on top after all…

        • Bob Franklin says:

          *properly*. Draw it up *properly*.

        • Alec Peters says:

          Yeah it was a very vague complaint, which is what they wanted. Minimum effort, and then shock and awe the poor little fan film guy.

          They didn’t expect Winston & Strawn.

          • BS says:

            Out of curiosity, is there a deadline for their filing an amended complaint? Hopefully they’re not allowed to drag this out for too long…

  • NADAV PRAWER says:

    Speaking from a foreign jurisdiction, does this entitle you to legal costs incurred in responding to the original complaint i.e. costs thrown away?

    On another note, I’m very curious as to whether you received a ‘cease and desist’ demand before the suit was filed. If so, who was it from? I wonder if Paramount et al have similarly calimed to own IP that they don’t neccessarily do…

    • Danny says:

      I doubt this entitles Axanar Productions to legal costs incurred, but I am also curious about the apparent lack of a cease and desist. From what I understand, this lawsuit came completely by surprise which implies that no one ever sent a cease & desist to Alec or Axanar Productions. That, more than anything else, really feels to me like bad form on the Plaintiff’s part.

  • James High says:

    How can I obtain the TV and movie rights to this case? This could be the start of a new show. “Law and Royalties”.

  • Brian Heite says:

    That seems unusual. My experience with lawsuits (such as they are) says a committed plaintiff always is on top of their complaint. Maybe a settlement is in the wind, and they want to cool down, but this would seem to be sort of negative. No more comments from this sideline, I know it can be aggravating….Good luck to Axanar!

  • Ian Worrall says:

    Given that Paramount/CBS have announced a new Trek TV showk, this suit smells like some junior in their legal department had a knee-jerk reaction to such a high-quality potential competitor.

    It all seems to be going a bit “Streisand Effect” for them, maybe?

  • Edjcox says:

    Interesting does this mean they are dropping the complaint?

    • Alec Peters says:

      No, amending it.

      • MsMariel says:

        How strange this all is, as though there is not enough Star Trek fan interest to go around, that AXANAR would somehow diminish Star Trek Beyond or the coming series, when in reality, more high quality, intellectually compelling Star Trek stories that appear only increase interest and desire for more.
        The Paramount response is a Klingon move when it should be Vulcan.

  • Claude says:

    Hi everybody,

    at the moment my sensation are that Paramount/CBS have decide to freeze the lawsuit, He just say we will see be carefull.
    But Paramount/CBS make the goal he stop the production of Axanar for some months.
    The good side are that Axanar can find the good way to the respect the copyright .

  • Nathan says:

    Please hang in there, I’m sure they will be trying to drown you in legal bills, hoping you will just give up.

    It’s a shame it all comes down to your production from story to graphics, all around looks better than most of that they are able to do on a multi-million dollar budget! Such as waste, they are willing to go that route.

  • Michael MacAllister says:

    To me this sounds like they just took a shot in the dark to see if it would work. It didn’t. Wether or not they will now try in earnest is anyones guess. I sure hope not. The worst possible outcome of this would be n thousand “Trademark pending” claims on anything from “wearing tights in the future” to “turbolift” and “communicator”.

  • Francisco says:


    This means a verrrry long filing from CBS will appear listing everything they can get a handle on which they think they can lay a claim to….cross ref to all eps etc. Well…that will be
    a) gargantuan….they will need to map each phrase, costume, ship, word (dilithium), alien, make up etc to its first appearance, attach it the the legal owner at that point in time, track that to the present to evidence ongoing ownership and then show how they might suffer loss….
    Good luck with that endeavour….NOT
    b) PRECEDENT…. Unfortunately for CBS, much of that material has entered the social vernacular….Universal for years had a tight grip on the look of the Frankenstein monster, but they protected it from the get go…hence why all other Frankenstein movies do not have a square head monster and two neck electrodes…..50 years have passed since trek began and many elements are just plain loose and used everywhere…pointy ears, photon (a real word that’s not theirs), hairs styles ( can’t trademark that)…and more…plus, they had better pick items which are NOT already in use by other fan films since they have allowed the precedent to be established with no challenge…..
    c) notwithstanding the above, they have no script to look at nor a completed film, so how could they be specific. If the character Soval appears, in a different costume, is never named, nor his home world, and you tweak the look….fans watching it will know it’s Soval, but no copyright is infringed…he just be “the ambassador” or “diplomatic attaché”… Garth…that’s fine..it’s a name….Klingons…easy, don’t name them, change the wrinkles, and have them just refer to “the Empire”….

    This is a huge case…and in years to come will be cited as the moment that film making became democratised….Lucas said over 20 years ago that technology would one day enable anyone to make studio quality films….I thought he was crazy….and Tommy Kraft has proved you can (Star Trek Horizon).
    This is what happened to music in the 60s thru the 80s….sampling, home demos, home studios….budding singer covers a Beatle song, and no one got sued ( and The Beatles are litigious)…. But the music business got wise and scouts find talent that way. The big record labels trawl the Internet for the next big thing ……

    And that is the wake up call the visual media business must adjust to. With visual entertainment increasingly fragmented across multiple delivery platforms, people now watch less to than 10 and 20 yrs ago. Cinema Renaissance is only happening due to spectacle and technology improvements…but it is precarious and difficult to attract physical viewers into one venue. Spectacle, will eventually Implode ( as it did in the 1920s, 50s and 80s) if plot, character and creative film making is dropped by the wayside….so studios and all visual media makers need to nurture and encourage the talent out ther to develop their craft….that’s how you get the backsides on seats….GOOD PRODUCT.

    AXANAR IS OUTSTANDING PRODUCT….so they are spooked…wrong reaction.
    Nurture, follow, guide even licence (see Kickstarter Thunderbirds 1965)…
    The people who pulled the trigger on this are old school and likely have no vision of how their own medium is changing so see only threat, not opportunity….

    I can only see two outcomes….CBS settle, or they risk losing or having this thrown out on some technical point….I’m not going to quarterback this….but it’s time to accept a new media dynamic is rapidly emerging.

    Trek changed TV in many ways 50 yrs ago, and it’s great to see it is still a force for change, reflection and Kirk style diplomacy ( crap….will I be sued for typing Kirk).

    Alec and team….go break that leg…
    Fran ( in the UK)

  • spuwho says:

    I am probably in the minority, but no one wants a legal scorched earth to reach a resolution. Just remember that in the “old days” courts were the resolution of last resort. Now days, going to court is just the beginning of negotiations. This is just one part of a long series of setting the terms.

    That would also not be an atypical Romulan ploy, sir.

    It is always a chess game with them, isn’t it?

  • Ryan says:

    Someone at Paramount has a personal grudge against someone on the Axanar team its sounds like. How do they not file a lawsuit against other fan-made films (i.e. Horizon, Renegades). Good luck Axanar team, and hopefully we will get to see this movie.

  • t.j. says:

    Paramount should have jumped on their chance to fund this project and ‘buy it out’ when it began. Now they have remorse at having missed their chance, and they have to fight for scraps by slinging lawyers around.
    IMHO, the ‘owners’ of ST threw away their rights when they canceled ToS after 3 seasons. I know, that isn’t the ‘legal’ truth, but it sure feels that way to us fans!