ROME — Your honor, I thought I saw a pussycat!
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In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples included the cartoon characters Tweety Bird, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend, Daisy, in a summons, officials said.
In fact, it's a criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.
The court summons cites "Titty, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino" — the Italian names for the characters — as damaged parties in the trial.
Instead of naming only the companies and their legal representatives, clerks also wrote in the witness list the names of the cartoons that decorated the toys and gadgets the man had allegedly reproduced, said Fiorenza Sorotto, vice president of Disney Company Italia.
"Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," Sorotto joked in a telephone interview. "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that's what we try to do."
The Naples court will have to rewrite the summons, though this will probably delay the trial, said Disney lawyer Cristina Ravelli.
"Let's hope the characters will not be prosecuted for failing to appear," Ravelli quipped.
Calls seeking comment from Warner Bros. in Milan were not immediately returned. Phones at the Naples court were not answered on Tuesday afternoon.
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