A Munich regional court has rejected Pumuckl creator Ellis Kaut's request for a temporary injunction, stopping Pumuckl's original illustrator Barbara von Johnson from giving the character a girlfriend, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The goblin Pumuckl is a kids' icon in Germany on the level of Big Bird. The row between Kaut and Johnson started when Johnson okayed a TV broadcaster to sponsor a contest to pick the look of Pumuckl's girlfriend. Kaut claims that the character is asexual, despite various occasions over the years being referred to as a boy.
Kaut originally created the characters for radio plays and books in the 1960s. He has been a constant staple on German television since the 1980s, starring in a mainly live-action series as the only animated character.
Ironically, it was a contest that originally determined Pumuckl's look. In the 1960s, Johnson won the illustration contest to design the look for the radio star. In 2006, she won a lawsuit that awarded her retroactive licensing fees to the character, which she was paid nearly nothing to design in the first place. The ruling was based on a new "bestseller" law that awards back payments to artists when a property goes on to gains unexpected success. A new lawsuit is pending to determine the amount of money Johnson will receive.