"The Shape of Water" received a leading 13 Academy Award nominations on Tuesday. Photo from FoxSearchlight/YouTube
“The Shape of Water” received a leading 13 Academy Award nominations on Tuesday. Photo from FoxSearchlight/YouTube

A Los Angeles federal judge tossed a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright against Guillermo del Toro over elements of the film director’s multiple Oscar-winning fantasy “The Shape of Water,” according to court papers obtained Tuesday.

David Zindel, son of the late playwright Paul Zindel, alleged in the February complaint that Del Toro’s film “brazenly copies” the story, characters and themes from his father’s “Let Me Hear You Whisper,” which was adapted into made-for-TV movies in 1969 and 1990.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson issued a ruling Monday dismissing the suit with prejudice — meaning permanently — and saying that del Toro and Fox Searchlight are entitled to recover the costs of defending against the claim.

In a statement issued when the lawsuit was filed, Fox Searchlight denied that the film was based on Zindel’s play, calling the infringement allegations “baseless, wholly without merit.”

The suit came less than two weeks before the Academy Awards telecast, where “The Shape of Water” was nominated for a leading 13 Oscars, including best picture, best director, best original screenplay and acting awards. It won four, including best picture and best director for del Toro.

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