Lawsuit shuts down North Pole workshop

NORTH POLE – Santa’s Workshop closed its doors today, as a patent lawsuit left the jolly fat man shaking in his boots like a bowl full of jelly.

Santa Claus, who for the past several centuries has hand-delivered annual gifts to children, shut down operations as the result of a class-action lawsuit launched by Toymakers Against Copyright Infringement (TACI). The group, representing Mattel, Hasbro, Parker Brothers, Ty, The Lego Group, Crayola, and others, alleges that Claus’ charitable work violates their copyright, trademark, and patent protections. Criminal charges related to the production of counterfeit goods are expected to follow.

TACI lawyer Henry Potter told The Chronicle that Claus has built up a massive black market industry. “It was an incredibly sophisticated operation, requiring thousands of employees working year-round to produce counterfeit versions of my clients’ most popular toys.”

RCMP raided Claus’s workshop on December 21st, finding billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit merchandise, including 650 000 imitation Barbie dolls, 46 000 Beanie Babies, over 75 000 board games, and millions of units of Lego.

“It was the largest-scale counterfeiting ring I’ve seen in twenty-five years on the job,” said Officer Jake Marley, who oversaw the raid.

In addition to his North Pole staff, Claus also relied on an international network of associates (known as ‘Helpers’) to solicit orders. These helpers impersonated Claus in order to communicate with parents and even children directly throughout the holiday season; some even charged parents for photos.

Department stores are expecting a last-minute rush in the coming days, as parents across the Western world scramble to find replacements for gifts that will not be dropped down chimneys on December 24th. “It’ll be like Black Friday meets the Cabbage Patch Riots,” predicted one Walmart employee.

While big box stores may be hearing silver (cash register) bells, parents forced to fight the crowds are not feeling quite so jolly. “It isn’t right,” complained Bob Cratchit, a father of six. “I know he may have technically broken the law, but the kids are devastated.”

Potter said his clients understand parents’ frustrations. “Believe me, this wasn’t our first choice. Who among us hasn’t received a gift from Santa? But his supposed generosity came at the expense of law-abiding, tax-paying businesses, and that is something we can no longer tolerate.”

Potter claims that attempts to reach a settlement were scuttled by the Jolly Fat Man’s refusal to cooperate. “He seemed to believe that no one would risk alienating their target markets by suing him.”

Claus will appear before a federal judge Friday in an attempt to get the charges dismissed. He is expected to argue that the philanthropic and non-commercial nature of the alleged activities render him immune from copyright law.

“He was doing this for the children,” stated Claus family lawyer George Bailey.

For Potter, altruism isn’t a defence. “No one is above the law, even Santa Claus.”