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Jerry Seinfeld wins 'Comedians in Cars' copyright case

Jerry Seinfeld attends the LA Tastemaker event for

Jerry Seinfeld attends the LA Tastemaker event for "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" on July 17 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Credit: Getty Images for Netflix / Emma McIntyre

Jerry Seinfeld's coffee cup runneth over. The Massapequa-raised comedian emerged victorious Monday when a judge ruled in his favor in a copyright battle against a former collaborator who said he came up for the idea for Seinfeld's hit series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled Monday that the lawsuit brought forth by Christian Charles, director of the 2002 documentary "Comedian" starring Seinfeld, was barred by the statute of limitations. The film documented a cross-country road trip between Seinfeld and a friend. In his suit, Charles alleged that afterward, he presented the series idea to the comic.

“Defendants argue that Plaintiffs copyright claims are time-barred,” Nathan said. “The Court agrees.”

Copyright civil cases have a three-year window within the statute for a suit to be brought forth with any chance of success. Charles communicated with Seinfeld in 2017, but did not take any legal action until early 2018.

"Today’s victory is a complete vindication,” Seinfeld attorney Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn Crutcher said Monday in a statement. “Jerry created 'Comedians in Cars' and this lawsuit was nothing but a money-grab seeking to capitalize on the success of the show. We are pleased that the court saw through the noise and dismissed the case.”

"Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" debuted on Sony Crackle in 2012 and moved to Netflix last year. Among the many celebrities who have shared some java with Seinfeld have been Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, Roosevelt-raised Eddie Murphy and fellow Massapequan Alec Baldwin. The series, which just wrapped its 11th season, has earned three Emmy nominations.

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