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HBO comedy Silicon Valley has been accused of ripping off an indie film, and the evidence is kind of startling. It's also pretty ironic, considering the episode in question centers around the act of "patent trolling," which is using a broad patent to intentionally sue larger companies with similar products who would rather settle out of court than risk lawsuit. One indie filmmaker is seeking reparations after he claims the series directly lifted elements of his film, Trolls The Movie, for use in its episode.
The irony of the situation is not lost on filmmaker Lex Lybrand, who realizes his allegations against Silicon Valley almost fall in line with the subject matter of both properties. Lybrand does feel as though he has evidence, however, that elements from his 2015 film, Trolls The Movie, were used in the HBO comedy. The Verge reports Lybrand is seeking a writing credit and residuals for the episode, to which he justifies with specific examples for how the episode took plot elements from his film and used them in the show.
A couple of similarities, like a Chevy Volt in the driveway of the patent troll, or conversations regarding patent law with lawyers could be played off as coincidental. Nevertheless, Lybrand maintains those points as evidence and also adds that lines of dialogue from his film, including the film's tagline "You trolled the trolls," found their way into Silicon Valley. Lybrand also included a visual aid for those who may have missed his feature, which can be seen below:
Is it damning, or sheer coincidence? Two, well-researched productions that center around the same subject are bound to have moments of crossover, but there do appear to be an uncanny amount of similarities. Lex Lybrand, who claims to watch the show regularly, first was alerted to the possibility something might be amiss when he saw a teaser for the episode of Silicon Valley the week prior. As for how an HBO writer might've seen his work, Lybrand says he's appeared on CNBC due to the subject matter of Trolls The Movie, traveled to festivals with the film, and the film has been featured around the web as well.
Will the HBO writers learn from Richard Hendricks and just give Lybrand what he wants at a lower cost, or will this thing go to court? So far, the network is sticking by its show and the writer of the episode, Andrew Law. Lex Lybrand has indicated he will seek legal action if necessary.