It seems that the movie monster Godzilla is not only a threat on the silver screen, but in real life too. And if you’re wondering, no, it hasn’t actually come out of the ocean to wreak havoc on the Japanese shoreline. However, Honda could end up paying a...sea of money to Toho Co., the Japanese film studio that owns the rights to the Godzilla trademark, due to the allegedly unauthorized use of the sea monster’s likeness in an Odyssey minivan commercial.
The dispute concerns the part of the commercial showing off the MPV’s split screen entertainment system, which features a barely visible head shot of the mythological creature -no, really.
According to Toho Co. spokesman Junichi Tamaki, the studio filed a law suit on February 2 in Los Angeles and wants to ban Honda from further using Godzilla’s image.
“We took a legal action because Godzilla was used without authorization in the Odyssey commercial,” Tamaki said. “It is an infringement of copyright.”
Toho Co. has a long history of suing everyone suspected of benefiting from the Godzilla trademark, including fast-food restaurants, various publishers or even rock bands.
Contacted by Autoweek, a Honda spokesman declined to comment on the matter, but added that the automaker is still running the Odyssey commercial, which is available below.