The attempt of a French children's author to sue Disney for plagerism is now circling the bowl. Franck LeCalvez had Claimed that Pixar Studio's "Finding Nemo" too closely resembled his character in a French children's book series, Pierrot le Poisson Clown. LeCalvez suggested that the resemblance of the characters and some parallels in the story were evidence of plagerism. The judge however tossed the suit over the transom.
The magistrate said that the physical differences were sufficiently unique, and some of the similar attributes--like the appearance of the fish, and the fact they both live in an anemonae--are based on nature. LaCalvez also had trouble with his proof of material theft. His books first hit the shelves in 2000, but Pixar was able to show that they were already deep into developement of their fish by that time--the film took over three years to create. The only solid defence the author had was that he had registered the character back in 1995, and had initially shopped the idea of his story to numerous production companies as a film idea, but after getting repeatedly shot down he turned Pierrot into a book character.
His claim was that Pixar picked up on the idea after he was turned down by those studios. In other words, with all of the creative advancements and the library of wildly inventive films Pixar had changed their methods and began combing through the discarded script bins at French film studios. That's something other companies are really known for trying.