Happy Birthday, Bilbo Baggins!

74 years ago today, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was first published.

We wondered if we might be able to find some Tolkien references in the courts. 

Well, as it says in The Hobbit, “there is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.” (Tolkien must have been a librarian at heart!) So off to Westlaw we went… 

Not suprisingly, we found a case with Tolkien Enterprises alledging tradmark infringement of the name “Hobbit”  (Saul Zaentz Co. v. Wozniak Travel, Inc.).

We also spotted a couple chuckle-worthy Tolkien references in decisions.

Medical Assur. Co., Inc. v. Hellman begins:

“Dr. Mark Weinberger maintained a prosperous ear, nose, and throat practice (commonly called “ENT” by people whose first loyalty is not to J.R.R. Tolkien)…” 

And this nugget was spotted in U.S. v. Schilling:

“With nearly as much trepidation as Frodo must have felt when he embarked on his journey to Morodor [sic], this federal court begins its ascension up a similarly foreboding, albeit “legal,” summit arising out of a land dispute between the United States and its Agency…”

We would have loved to see reference to “overly litigious hobbitses,” but sadly that search turned up empty.

We’ve got a while before The Hobbit movies come out, but did you know that New Zealand Parliament passed legislation to keep production of the movies in their country? You can read about it here.