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Ultraman Elite
Pictures of the latest Thai Ultraman roadshow in Taiwan Click Here

Official Ultraman Page in Thailand (yes, they got the ultraman.com domain name): Thai Official Ultraman Page

From Left to right:  Taro, Neos, U721, Human unnamed character, Millenium, assumed to be Zoffy (behind Millenium), Baltan seijin, Ace, Ultraman (Hyata)  Photo taken at "The Ultraman Live Show/Bangkok 2001".

From BANGKOK's "The Nation" Newspaper (Shinbun).  Wednesday September 12, 2001 (ICT)
Editor: Thanong Khanthong
Page 12B: Business Section.

Written by Somluck Srimalee.

CHAIYO PRODUCTIONS is to launch the first-ever made-in-Thailand Ultraman character, to be called ULTRAMAN MILLENIUM.  The character will star in a half-hour television series and a live show in several Asian countries later this year, despite an ongoing court case with Japanese company Tsuburaya Prioductions over the copyright.  Perasit Saengduenchai, managing director of Chaiyo Productions, insisted yesterday that the company had the rights to develop and commercially benefit from the Ultraman character, which has its origins in a Japanese live-action television series.  The company has owned the copyright for the Ultraman television series since 1976, he said.  Perasit claimed that the 1976 agreement enables the company to benefit from the characters worldwide except for Japan.  Tsuburaya Productions of Japan, the producer of the Ultraman series since 1966, holds the copyright for it in Japan only, Perasit said.

The new television series will be aired in HONG KONG, SINGAPORE, TAIWAN and CHINA next year.  It is co-produced by Chaiyo Productions and Matching Entertainment.  The Thai producers will use actors and actresses from Hong Kong and Thailand.  "The Ultraman Millenium copyright is owned by Chaiyo Productions.  It is a new version of the Ultraman character, which is fully Thai-produced," said Perasit.  'We believe Ultraman Millenium will be successful in Thailand and in the global market because it has a unique character," he added.  In addition, Perasit said that the company would also be organising an Ultraman live show in seberal countries in Asia and Europe next year.  Chaiyo Productions, founded by Sompotye Saengduenchai, will co-produce this with Matching Entertainment next year at a cost of more than 100,000,000 Baht (1000 baht = $22.50 USD.....Al).

The "Ultraman Millennium Live Show" will premier in Bangkok between October 12 and 21.  Afterward, the show will tour Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China and Europe over the next year.  "We expect revenue from the live show in the worldwide market to be a minimum of 40,000,000 Baht per country.  This excludes revenue from the Ultraman character copyright, which will achieve 4,000,000 baht in the world market excluding Japan," Perasit said.  Chaiyo Productions has been engaged in a long court case with Tsuburaya Productions of Thailand over the copyright of the Ultraman characters.  The Thai Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case soon.

Follow Up (06/30/2003 ICT)!!  Ultraman Chou is now being used in TV commercial advertising in Thailand (I witnessed one children's drink commercial on Bangkok TV (Channel 7, I believe) on June 23rd 2003!!  TPC (the Japanese creators of Ultraman) **lost** their court case with Chaiyo Productions in the Kingdom of Thailand's Supreme Court!!  TPC is appealing, however Chaiyo is going forward with promotions within the Kingdom of Thailand only at this time!!  Chou is very popular with adult affluent males in Thailand!!  They all know Chou!!  When more information comes in, you will know about it here on SHADO!!

Follow Up (05/01/2004 ICT)!!  According to both THE NATION and THE BANGKOK POST, The Supreme Court in Japan has ruled on the issue.  Below is the full article from THE NATION newspaper written by Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn

COPYRIGHT SAGA: Sompote wins Ultraman fight

THE NATION - Published  05/01/2004 (ICT)
Writer/Journalist:  Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn

Controls licence to superhero outside Japan

Japan's Supreme Court on Tuesday handed Sompote Saengduenchai control over Ultraman outside Japan, ending an eight-year legal battle that would have made even the giant superhero sweat.  The ruling gives Sompote, owner and chairman of Chaiyo Productions, exclusive rights to all Ultraman characters and the Ultraman trademark in all territories except Japan. He will have distribution, reproduction and broadcasting rights in all mass media including radio and television.  There are 30 different Ultraman characters on the market. The international licences for Ultraman, excluding Japan, are worth more than US$30 million (Bt1.2 billion) a year.

Sompote, also president of Tsuburaya Chaiyo Co Ltd, the licence-holder, won a lawsuit against Tsuburaya Productions of Japan in a Tokyo appeals court in February 2003. Tsuburaya Productions appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court's decision saying the facts had been thoroughly heard in the appeals court.  Sompote originally received permission for Ultraman's international rights outside of Japan in 1976 from Noboru Tsuburaya, former chairman of Tsuburaya Productions.  Chayatawatch Atibaedya, Sompote's lawyer, said that Sompote would file a lawsuit against Tsuburaya Productions seeking damages his business and reputation incurred in the legal tussle.  He estimated damages, including 29 years of lost opportunity costs on the Ultraman licence, at between US$2 billion and US$3 billion.

"Tsuburaya Productions is now under financial difficulties and there is a strong possibility that Khun Sompote may become a major shareholder and gain the right to manage the company by converting debt into equity if Tsuburaya is unable to pay for any damages awarded by the court," Chayatawatch said.  Sompote, 62, said that he has stepped down to allow his son Pirasith, 30, to operate the film production empire and handle the Ultraman licence.  Ultraman is popular around the world, including in the United States, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and parts of Africa.
The article continues with the following notes below uncredited, but assumed to be from the writer listed above:

With one bound . . .

Now that Sompote Saengduenchai is free of his legal entanglements, he is hard at work on his most ambitious project, to make the biggest ever Ultraman film to be shown around the world, including the US.  He is deep in talks with top Hollywood movie-makers about joining the Bt3-billion production and expects to clinch a deal this year.  He gave the example of George Lucas, who turned "Hidden Fortress", the work of legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, into the "Star Wars" blockbuster.  Sompote and his film-production house Chaiyo Productions have not produced any film for almost eight years during the prolonged court battle with Tsuburaya Productions of Japan for the commercial rights to Ultraman.

Follow Up (05/20/2004 ICT)!!  Below is the article from The Bangkok Post Newspaper.  Here is the Ultraman article written by Bamrung Amnatcharoenrit


But rival says only nine figures covered.
The Bangkok Post -
Published on May 1, 2004 (ICT)
Writer/Journalist: Bamrung Amnatcharoenrit (The Bangkok Post 05/01/2004 ICT)

Ultraman Dyna, one of the new versions of the Ultraman family in Japan, to which the Thai firm Tsuburaya Chaiyo claims the rights. 

The eight-year legal battle between a Thai and a Japanese company over who owns the copyright to the popular Ultraman characters came to an end this week when the Tokyo Supreme Court rejected appeals by the Japanese company.  The high court upheld an Appeal Court ruling that a contract signed in 1976 between Sompote Saengduenchai, the founder of Bangkok-based Tsuburaya Chaiyo, and Noboru Tsuburaya, the founder of Tsuburaya Productions Co of Tokyo, remained valid.  Mr Sompote said the contract gave his company ownership to the rights to Ultraman characters, including ``reproduced'' versions, as well as the ``Ultraman trademark'' worldwide, excluding Japan.  However, another company with the Thailand-only rights to Ultraman, maintains that the ruling gives Tsuburaya Chaiyo the rights only to nine Ultraman characters from an early series of movies.

Today there are more than 30 versions of Ultraman characters, including Ultraman Cosmos which will hit local cinemas this year, imported by a local company, Ultra Film Co.  Mr Sompote appeared happy with the supreme court verdict, saying he would take legal action seeking compensation from companies, including Tsuburaya Productions and any foreign firms that violated the rights to Ultraman characters.  Since 1976, Tsuburaya in Japan has earned about US$30 million a year in sales of Ultraman character rights in the international market but Tsuburaya Chaiyo has received nothing, he said.  Sampote Thianthong, managing director of Pro-Link Co, the sole agent for Ultraman characters in Thailand only, acknowledged the decision by the Japanese Supreme Court.  However, he insisted that Tsuburaya Chaiyo had the rights only to the characters in nine films: Giant vs Jambo `A', Haruman and the Seven Ultraman, Ultraman 1 ``Ultra Q'', Ultraman 2, Ultraman Seven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace, Ultraman Taro and Jamborg Ace.  He said the ruling by the Appeal Court upheld ``reproduction'' and ``trademark'' rights for Tsuburaya Chaiyo but only for the nine films.

``Currently, Tsuburaya Productions in Japan has full copyright to all Ultraman characters, excluding characters in the nine films. In Thailand, the company has also never allowed any other company to look after these characters, only Pro-Link,'' Mr Sampote said.  With the latest verdict, Tsuburaya Chaiyo plans to move ahead with its plan to revive the popularity of Ultraman characters, both at home and abroad, as well as creating new versions.  The Thai company is reportedly in talks with a company from the United States for a joint production of a big-budget Ultraman movie. No other details were available.