“Tardigrades” Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Star Trek: Discovery Dismissed by Judge

Commander Landry and Michael Burnham contemplate the tardigrade in  Star Trek: Discovery .

Commander Landry and Michael Burnham contemplate the tardigrade in Star Trek: Discovery.

A copyright infringement lawsuit against Star Trek: Discovery has been dismissed by a judge in New York.

Earlier this year, Anas Abdin, the creator of an unreleased videogame called “Tardigrades”, filed suit against CBS, alleging that they violated copyright law by copying the concept of the game and using it as the basis for the plot of the first season of Discovery. In the suit, Abdin claimed that the oversized tardigrade and many of the cast were direct copies of characters that he had developed for his game.

On Friday, Lorna G. Schofield, District Judge for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, granted CBS’s motion to dismiss the case. Quoting the decision: “Defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted because Star Trek: Discovery and Plaintiff’s Videogame are not substantially similar as a matter of law in concept, characters, settings and ‘overall feel.’ In particular, the tardigrade in Star Trek: Discovery is not substantially similar to Plaintiff’s tardigrade in concept, attributes and overall feel.” She goes on to explain further, “The plots of both works are similar solely to the extent that the characters go on adventures in space, and some of the adventures involve alien tardigrades.”

Image from the court filing

Image from the court filing

Abdin announced the judge’s decision on his blog, and took the opportunity to thank his supporters. He said, “I don't have enough words to describe my gratitude to everyone who believed in me and my case. I cannot thank my lawyers enough for believing in me and fighting for me. I respect the ruling and I expect everyone to do so. I'm not sure what happens to my project now, or my independent-game development career in general.”


This article was written for the podcast Daily Star Trek News.

Alison Pitt is the writer, producer, and host of Daily Star Trek News, on the Roddenberry Podcast Network. A veteran Star Trek podcaster, she started her career on the weekly show Priority One: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast in 2015. She has appeared on panels at Star Trek Las Vegas, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic Con.

Alison Pitt