Last year, Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville, Alabama. The suit claimed unauthorized use of Lee’s name on souvenirs sold by the museum.
In February of this year, Lee’s attorneys informed the court that a settlement had been reached. Lee’s attorneys re-contacted the court last week to announce that a settlement had not, in fact, been reached, and requested that the lawsuit be re-instated.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is Lee’s sole published work, and royalties from the book and subsequent film are her primary source of income. The novel tells the story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch (portrayed in the film by Gregory Peck), his two children, and the struggle against racial prejudice in the segregated South. The museum is located in the courthouse depicted in the movie. It is widely believed that the lead character in the story, Atticus Finch’s daughter, Scout, is based on Harper Lee as a child.
We know Atticus Finch was a criminal trial attorney. But did he try civil cases? And would is there sufficient injustice for him to represent Scout in her claim against the museum?