The British production company which created Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is celebrating a multi-million pound “David and Goliath” legal victory against Disney today over profits from the game show.
A jury in Los Angeles yesterday awarded Celador $269m (£177m) in damages after ruling it failed to receive a fair share of profits from Disney’s screening of the programme in the US.
Celador chairman Paul Smith described the US court ruling as “justice” after fighting for eight years to obtain money the company was owed.
He said Celador had refused to give up during the fight despite the “daunting prospect” of taking on a “giant”.
“It’s been eight years - two years of trying to settle it out of court and then six years in court,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s a very daunting prospect. Disney is an absolute giant and we are a tiny little minnow.
“I don’t think they believed a small independent producer would go after them and indeed be so determined.
“We were determined and we were not going to give up.”
Mr Smith said he screamed when he first learned of the court’s decision via a brief email from Celador’s lawyer and described the news as a “relief”.
He said the dispute centred on Celador’s contract with Disney which “very clearly stated” what the company was entitled to from the profits.
“As they say, justice has been done,” he said.
“It’s money to which we were entitled. We’ve had to wait eight years for it.”
Disney said it would “aggressively” appeal against the decision.
The jury awarded $260m (£171m) in licence fees and $9.2m (£6m) for merchandising claims, which were made based on sales of a home edition of the game show.
Mr Silberfeld said he expected post-trial manoeuvres and that an appeal would take a couple of years.