11 July 2024

Thailand’s Supreme Court’s Division for Intellectual Property Rights and International Trade has rejected an appeal by a Thai production house, claiming copyright over movies about Japan’s superhero Ultraman.


Mr. Sompo Saengduanchai, owner of Chaiyo Productions Company Limited, appealed the earlier decision of the Appeals Court, which ruled that Tsubaraya Productions Company Limited is the legitimate owner of the Ultraman character’s copyright.

Tsubaraya Productions is a Japanese special effects studio, best known for producing the “Ultra” series.  It was founded in 1963 by special effects wizard Eiji Tsubaraya and was run by his family until October 2007, when the family sold the company to advertising agency TYO Inc.


Mr. Sompo claimed that, while he was in Japan on a fellowship trip to observe film production, he created the Ultraman superhero from his imagination. He made “Jumbo A”, “Ultraman 1 – Ultra Q”, “Ultraman 2”, “Ultraman Seven”, “Return of Ultraman”, “Ultraman Ace”, “Ultraman Taro”, “Jamborg Ace” and “Hanuman Meets Seven Superheroes”, all featuring the superhero.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Thai producer said that he is afraid that the decision will affect his movies, some of which have been registered as part of the national heritage since 2012.