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John J. Kirby, Jr.
is an American attorney
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...
employed by the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, that has represented a number of notable corporations in legal disputes. One of his most well-known cases was Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd.
Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. was a case heard by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by Judge Robert W. Sweet. In their complaint, Universal Studios alleged that Nintendo's video game Donkey Kong was a trademark infringement of King Kong, the...
In this case, he defended Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....
against litigation from Universal City Studios in a dispute revolving around the video game Donkey Kong
is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. It is an early example of the platform game genre, as the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles. In the game, Jumpman must rescue a damsel in distress, Lady, from a...
, which Universal claimed to be illegally based on King Kong
King Kong is a fictional character, a giant movie monster resembling a gorilla, that has appeared in several movies since 1933. These include the groundbreaking 1933 movie, the film remakes of 1976 and 2005, as well as various sequels of the first two films...
. Kirby won the case, a landmark victory for Nintendo, by presenting evidence that Universal had previously won a legal battle against RKO that stated the story and characters of King Kong
were in the public domain; thus, Universal had no legal right to claim ownership of the characters and basic scenario (man rescuing a woman from a large ape) when the studio originally threatened legal action against Nintendo.
It is believed that the popular Nintendo character Kirby was named in his honor, however the original creator, Masahiro Sakurai
is a Japanese video game designer, the creative force behind both the Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series on Nintendo platforms. He is currently Director of Software Development for the video game developer's Sora Ltd. and Project Sora. He is also the author of a weekly column for Famitsu...
, claims he doesn't remember how the name "Kirby" came to be. Kirby also has exclusive rights to use the name "Donkey Kong" for sailboats.