Screenwriter loses claim on '007'

— A legal battle that outlasted James Bond's clashes with the forces of SPECTRE came to a close Monday with the martini-swilling secret agent finally learning the identity of his real father.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a one-time 007 producer and screenwriter waited too long to claim he � and not author Ian Fleming � created the rakish spy who has been featured in 19 films.

The court's ruling ends a 40-year struggle over the parentage of the Bond character, dismissing Irish writer Kevin McClory's lawsuit.

"The case before us has it all," Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote. "A hero, seeking to redeem his stolen fortune. The villainous organization that stands in his way. Mystery! International intrigue!

"And now, not least of all, the dusty corners of the ancient law of equity."

McClory's case stems from his efforts in the late 1950s to help Fleming adapt 007 for the big screen, a collaboration that resulted in the script for "Thunderball," released in 1965 as the fourth Bond film.

Fleming awarded McClory partial rights to the "Thunderball" story, which led McClory to twice attempt to produce competing Bond films. He succeeded the second time, with "Never Say Never Again" � a remake of "Thunderball" � in 1983.

McClory later claimed complete ownership of the Bond character, arguing he, not Fleming, created the 007 known to millions of filmgoers � the debonair agent with a penchant for getting out of tight scrapes.

The court, though, ruled McClory waited far too long to make his claim on the $1 billion Bond empire. McClory had waited between 19 and 36 years to claim rights to the seven 007 films named in his suit.

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