|Courtesy of the BBC|
According to the Independent, Coburn's son, Stef Coburn, is claiming that the BBC is in breach of contract by continuing to use the TARDIS. He states that any "informal rights" given to the BBC expired when his father died in 1977. When the elder Coburn passed, the rights were transferred to his wife Joan, who then signed them over to Stef earlier in 2013. Stef says that the BBC has two options; either stop using the public call box, or pay for every appearance it has made in the last 36 years.
"It is by no means my wish to deprive legions of 'Doctor Who' fans (of whom I was never one) of any aspect of their favourite children's programme. The only ends I wish to accomplish, by whatever lawful means present themselves, involve bringing about the public recognition that should by rights always have been his due, of my father James Anthony Coburn's seminal contribution to 'Doctor Who,' and proper lawful recompense to his surviving estate," Stef Coburn stated on his decision to take action.
It also appears that Stef has taken issue with "An Adventure in Space and Time," a dramatization of the early years of Doctor Who, because it doesn't feature his father.
The BBC has released a statement, dismissing the claims, stating "The BBC registered the TARDIS trade mark in the 1980s unchallenged and there have been no challenges since." Stef says that if he had owned the rights at the time, he would have taken action then.