Jayme Gordon, 51, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against DreamWorks in 2011, accusing executives of using sketches he made in the 1990s to create the characters and story for the 2008 animation.

Later that year (11), he suggested DreamWorks bosses settle for $12 million (£7.5 million), but the request was refused and both parties spent two more years in litigation, costing DreamWorks around $3 million (£1.9 million).

Gordon withdrew the suit in 2013 after lawyers for DreamWorks discovered some of the drawings had allegedly been traced from a Disney colouring book before being submitted as evidence in the case. He is also accused of deleting further evidence from his computer that he was required to produce as part of the legal wrangling.

Gordon was charged with four counts of wire fraud and three counts of perjury at the U.S. District Court in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday (21Dec15).

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, "Our intellectual property laws are designed to protect creative artists, not defraud them... The misuse of civil litigation as part of a fraud scheme, and lying under oath, as alleged in this case, warp our federal judicial system and must be addressed with appropriate criminal sanctions."

Harold Shaw of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) adds, "Mr. Gordon went to great lengths to orchestrate and maintain this fraudulent scheme, trying to take credit for ideas he did not come up with nor work he simply did not do."

The movie has spawned two sequels. The third installment is set for release in 2016.