50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Jim Sullivan at Shazam Productions
Managing IP is part of Legal Benchmarking Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX
Copyright © Legal Benchmarking Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Jim Sullivan at Shazam Productions

Jim Sullivan is a director at Shazam Productions in the UK


Back in 2018, Jim Sullivan was writing the official musical for ‘Only Fools and Horses’ – the famous British sitcom written by his late father John Sullivan – when he was notified of a suspect show.

What happened next led to a landmark ruling in England and Wales copyright law.

The interactive show, called ‘Only Fools The (cushty) Dining Experience’, was essentially an unauthorised new episode of the original production, using characters, catchphrases, dialogue, specific jokes, and much more.

Sullivan, a director at Shazam Productions, the company his dad created to protect and monetise the show’s intellectual property rights, says he pushed the lawsuit “right from the beginning” and instructed law firm Ashfords to take action.

He was then instrumental in compiling evidence for the judge, ultimately writing 41 pages and giving testimony in court.

“The most gruelling aspect of it all was going through the original scripts and compiling a list of those key points, noting exactly where, how and why the breach of copyright was taking place,” he says.

A key focus of the case was the show’s protagonist, Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter, and whether the character itself could be protected by copyright. No such finding had ever been made in England and Wales copyright law.

Ultimately, and no doubt due to Sullivan’s efforts, the court sided with Shazam in June. It ruled that ‘Only Fools The (cushty) Dining Experience’ had infringed the original show’s copyright and was liable for passing off.

Not only was it the first time a UK court had found that copyright subsisted in a character (Del Boy), it was the first case involving ‘fair dealing’ of a copyright work for the purposes of parody or pastiche (the defence being roundly rejected).

“I mostly hope that the ruling makes people realise that the act of hijacking someone else’s hard work and exploiting it for personal gain isn’t a good idea,” says Sullivan. “For the most part, it is well understood within the industry that this isn’t the done thing, which is why things like copyright, agreements and licences exist.”

You can read the full interview here.

Profiles for the 50 most influential people in IP 2022
View profiles

The list is in five categories, which you can navigate by selecting the appropriate section below.

19 Industry leaders
10 Public officials
9 IP authorities
7 Judges
5 Notable individuals
Kasim Alfalahi is CEO at Avanci in the US
Shannon Thyme Klinger is chief legal officer at Moderna in the US
Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen are founders at Andreessen Horowitz in the US
Audrey Lee is general counsel at Starz Entertainment in the US
Beat Weibel is chief IP counsel at Siemens in Germany
Jack Randles is head of legal at Manolo Blahnik in the UK
Mattia Fogliacco is president of Sisvel International in Luxembourg
Joyce Ang is senior vice president for IPR protection at Lazada in Singapore
Daniel Zohny is head of IP at FIFA in Switzerland
René Claude Metomo is the president of the Association of Penja Pepper Producers in Cameroon
Niall Trainor is senior director of brand protection at eOne in the UK
Stephen Wurth and John Scott are legal counsel at Qualcomm in the US
Scott Frank is CEO of IP at AT&T in the US
Nader Pazirandeh is president at Unicolors in the US
Juliette Rouilloux-Sicre is vice president of legal and intellectual property at Thales in France
Clemens Heusch is global head of dispute resolution at Nokia in Germany
Craig Wright is a computer scientist in Australia
Robert Devonshire is a partner at MML Capital in the UK
The investigation lead at the Spanish National Police asked to remain anonymous
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the director general of the World Trade Organization in Switzerland
Jacob Rees-Mogg is the former secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy in the UK
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the former president of the United Arab Emirates
Edwin Tong is the second minister for law in the Singapore government
Kerstin Jorna is director general of DG Grow at the European Commission in Belgium
Patrick Leahy is a senator for Vermont at the US Congress
Thom Tillis is a senator for North Carolina at the US Congress
Vladimir Putin is president of Russia
Alexander Ramsay is former chair of the UPC Administrative Committee in Sweden
Insil Lee is the commissioner at KIPO in South Korea
Christian Archambeau is executive director at the EUIPO in Spain
Tim Moss is former CEO of the UKIPO
Kathi Vidal is the director of the USPTO and under secretary of commerce for IP in the US government
Shira Perlmutter is register of copyrights at the US Copyright Office
Shen Changyu is the commissioner of the CNIPA in China
António Campinos is president of the EPO in Germany
Konstantinos Georgaras is CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Wang Jiangqiao is a judge at the Hangzhou Internet Court in China
Prathiba Singh is a judge at the Delhi High Court in India
Klaus Grabinski is president of the UPC Court of Appeal in Germany
Colm Connolly is the chief judge at the District Court for the District of Delaware in the US
Suzanne Barnett was the interim chief judge at the Copyright Royalty Board in the US
Len Stark is a judge at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the US
Orlando Garcia is the chief judge at the District Court for the Western District of Texas in the US
Amber Kotrri is the founder of House of Zana in the UK
Taras Kulbaba is a partner at Bukovnik & Kulbaba IP Guardians in Belgium
Ankit Sahni is the owner of the RAGHAV Artificial Intelligence Painting App in India
Ed Sheeran is a pop star in the UK
Lynn Goldsmith is a celebrity photographer in the US
Gift this article