Jerry Seinfeld has won a court case over who came up with the idea for his hit Netflix show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Manhattan, New York, ruled that the 66-year-old comedian was the creator of the show, following claims from writer/director Christian Charles that he’d initially pitched the concept in 2001.
Charles initially filed suit against Seinfeld in 2018, claiming he’d had a working relationship with the famed comic for two decades, but on Wednesday (05May20) he lost his bid to be named as the brains behind the show.
In his suit, Charles said he’d pitched the show to Seinfeld while they were making their documentary Comedian in November 2001, revealing the idea – initially titled Two Stupid Guys In A Stupid Car Driving To A Stupid Town – was based on the idea of a pair of friends chatting while driving. Seinfeld wasn’t interested at the time, according to Charles, but followed up on the idea during a 2011 meeting in the Hamptons.
However, according to the star’s legal team Charles didn’t request involvement in the project until Netflix coughed up $750,000 (£605,543) for the rights to each episode in 2017, violating the three-year statute of limitations.
The judge’s ruling noted that Charles had waited too long to sue, saying that since he “was on notice that his ownership claim had been repudiated since at least 2012, his infringement claim is time-barred”.
Seinfeld recently admitted he doubts he will return with new episodes of the show after 11 seasons, noting, “I feel like I may have done that exploration, at this point.”