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Marine biologist crowdfunding to support copyright fight with comedian Ricky Gervais

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:22 25 August 2020

Norwich man John Savage, who is locked in a legal wrangle with Ricky Gervais. Picture: Albanpix.com

Norwich man John Savage, who is locked in a legal wrangle with Ricky Gervais. Picture: Albanpix.com

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A marine biologist locked in a legal wrangle with comedian Ricky Gervais has turned to crowdfunding to support his fight.

Norwich man John Savage, who is locked in a legal wrangle with Ricky Gervais. Picture: Albanpix.comNorwich man John Savage, who is locked in a legal wrangle with Ricky Gervais. Picture: Albanpix.com

John Savage, of Norwich, has accused the comedian of stealing his intellectual property for his Flanimals children’s book series.

Mr Savage alleges that Mr Gervais ripped off creations from his own book, Captain Pottie’s Wildlife Encyclopedia, which was released four years before the first instalment of Flanimals.

The claims have been refuted by the After Life creator, but this year legal representatives from both sides met to discuss them after Mr Savage objected to a fresh trademark bid from Mr Gervais.

However, after these meetings failed to produce common ground, Mr Savage has launched a fundraising appeal to cover the legal costs of fighting the far wealthier Mr Gervais.

A page taken from Norwich man John Savage's book, which he is accusing Ricky Gervais of ripping off  Picture: James BassA page taken from Norwich man John Savage's book, which he is accusing Ricky Gervais of ripping off Picture: James Bass

Mr Savage said: “After a first meeting I thought we were getting somewhere but after the second it felt to me that the viewpoint of Mr Gervais was very much ‘go away, little people’.

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“I don’t want to be doing this, all I did was write a ridiculous, surreal children’s book years ago and it has caused me more trouble than it is worth.

“Whatever the outcome I consider it my responsibility now to fight all the way - this should not be allowed to happen. It is unlikely this gets all the way to court but if it does and I lose at least I will have done everything I can.”

Comedian Ricky Gervais is accused of ripping off Norwich author John Savage in Flanimals. Picture: PA ImagesComedian Ricky Gervais is accused of ripping off Norwich author John Savage in Flanimals. Picture: PA Images

It is not the first time Mr Savage has sought credit over the similarities between the two books, which saw him previously attempt to sue Mr Gervais, however, financial limitations saw this pursuit end.

However, when Mr Gervais applied to trade mark Flanimals earlier this year, Mr Savage sought legal advice and lodged a formal objection to the application with the government’s Intellectual Property Office.

Speaking in May he said: “This has been going on for 10 years and frankly I am fed up - so let’s talk.”

However, with the discussions now having broken down he is hoping a crowdfunding campaign will help his fight, which he is being aided in by barrister David Langwallner of MCB Chambers.

Mr Gervais’ representatives have been approached for comment.


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