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Crocodile hunter's widow threatens to sue Kerala govt
February 27, 2009 16:34 IST
In an major embarrassment to the Kerala [Images] government, the widow of famous conservationist 'crocodile hunter' Steve Irwin has sent a legal notice to the state Wildlife Department, for naming a crocodile park near Thiruvananthapuram after him without her permission.
Kerala Forest Minister Binoy Viswam had announced naming the crocodile park at Neyyar in Steve's 'honour', shortly after his death in 2006 in a stingray attack, while shooting a film off the Australian coast.
The notice sent by legal firm Rigby-King Lawyers on behalf of Steve's widow Terri Irwin and Australia [Images] Zoo Pty Ltd alleged that the use of name and images of Steve for the park was an infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and wanted the government to immediately stop it, said informed sources.
Chief Conservator of Forest (Wild Life) K P Ouseph said they had received the notice and that its authenticity was being verified.
"We have brought the matter to the notice of the advocate general, and would reply to the notice if it is found to be genuine," he said. The park, which was renovated with an image of Irwin engraved on the entrance wall, was opened on May 15, 2007.
The notice said the government was using photographs and images of Steve, who hosted a popular TV wildlife show 'Crocodile Hunter', to promote the park without their consent or obtaining the copy right material.
"Steve Irwin as a character and person is known throughout the world and for that reason, you have obviously chosen to use that persona and reputation to advertise your crocodile park. This is unacceptable and an infringement of our clients' international intellectual property rights," the notice said.
The notice demanded 'immediate removal of the infringing work and trade mark from any publication, distribution or sales outlets with which you are connected directly or indirectly'.