Massachusetts man convicted of fraud over 'Kung Fu Panda' drawings, lawsuit

Reuters
The character of Po poses at the premiere of "Kung Fu Panda 3" at the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood
The character of Po poses at the premiere of "Kung Fu Panda 3" at the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) - A Massachusetts man was found guilty by a federal jury on Friday of back-dating drawings he relied on as evidence in his lawsuit against DreamWorks Animation that claimed he had invented the title character in the 2008 film "Kung Fu Panda."

A federal jury in Boston convicted Jayme Gordon, 51, on four counts of wire fraud and three counts of perjury after prosecutors accused him of lying in a 2011 lawsuit against the Hollywood studio, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts said in a statement.

Prosecutors charged that Gordon back-dated drawings of a high-kicking bear named Po in 2008 after seeing an early trailer for the film, and then used them to try to extract a $12 million settlement from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

Some of the drawings Gordon relied on had been traced from a coloring book featuring Walt Disney Co characters from the 1994 film "The Lion King," prosecutors said.

Gordon agreed to dismiss his lawsuit after DreamWorks, which also produced the "Madagascar" and "How to Train Your Dragon" films, discovered the tracing. By that time, though, the company had spent $3 million defending itself against the litigation.

Gordon faces 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charges and five years for the perjury charges.

Gordon's attorney was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Tom Hogue)