We have done our fair share of trademark watching when it comes to The Walt Disney Company, and that includes disputes that arise over them as well, whichever side of the issue Disney happens to be on. Because trademark ownership requires companies take action when they feel their trademarks are potentially infringed upon, we tend to chalk most of them up to business as usual and ignore them. Sometimes we don’t. The vast majority of disputes are also usually over words. Don’t — for example — attempt to trademark anything with the word Monster in it unless you enjoy raging legal battles.
One might imagine it should not be too difficult for one describe the infamous Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s iconic Oz series, beginning with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In fact, one could probably close one’s eyes and simultaneously click one’s heels three times whilst describing her to a T. Whether it’s Theodora from Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful or Elphaba from Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series/Broadway musical, one would instantly recognize the Wicked Witch by her green flesh, pointy black hat and broomstick upon which she travels. Her green complexion is so identifiable with her, that it’s even a significant plot device in Maguire’s books.
A subpoena was issued earlier this week by the United States District Court in California against Stan Lee in the lawsuit by Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLMI) against The Walt Disney Company (USDC Colorado, case 12-cv-02663). The multi-billion dollar lawsuit claims that it is SLMI, not Disney/Marvel, that owns the rights to characters that Lee owned, but then transferred to Marvel in the late ’90s. It was prior to this that Lee founded SLMI (which would later fail), the shareholders of which are claiming Lee signed the rights over to them and therefore never had the rights to transfer to Marvel, which would then go own to be owned by Disney, including iconic properties such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, X-Men, Thor and the Incredible Hulk, amongst others.
Paperwork was filed earlier today with the comptroller’s office in Orange County, Florida earlier today, which announces that a lawsuit against Walt Disney World by Leanne Deacon, on behalf of her daughter, was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice. This likely indicates that an out-of-court settlement between the parties has been reached.
The lawsuit, which was filed in early 2009, alleges that Deacon’s then-teenage daughter suffered permanent brain damage after collapsing as a result of riding Disney’s Tower of Terror attraction in 2005. Deacon claimed Disney Parks and Resorts was negligent in providing ample warnings about the potential dangers of the attraction and was reportedly seeking in excess of $15 million, an amount Deacon claimed would be necessary to support her daughter for the remainder of her life.
Safety, courtesy, show and efficiency; these are the four guiding principles (or keys) that Disney Parks and Resorts ingrains into its ‘cast members’ that not only highlight how to conduct themselves in their ‘roles,’ at the parks, but stress their order of importance. Therefore, safety is the primary concern of the company and its employees.
But what if a cast member were to run ‘afoul’ of the organization and its management and cite concerns regarding safety? And especially where management is effectively swapping the importance of safety for the sake of efficiency? Worse yet, what if that cast member claims retaliation for their whistle-blowing and says they were wrongfully terminated as a result?
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 631 and the Service Trades Council Union filed a complaint in Florida Middle District Court against Walt Disney World yesterday over labor hiring practices which they claim are in violation of the then-governing agreement and subsequent mediation rulings.
Princess Merida may be a force to reckon with when it comes to certain projectiles, but she won’t be proficient when it comes to baseballs or tomahawks if the Atlanta Braves have anything to say about it. While the recent news of Paramount Resources’ Pixar Petrolium is making a big splash, another significant war has been raging quietly on the trademark front — for months no less.
It all started back in March of last year when we reported on trademark applications which appeared to have been confirming a title change for what was then known as The Bear and the Bow, but is now known to be Brave.
We finally have an update on a lawsuit filed by Walker Digital against The Walt Disney Company which claimed that the PhotoPass service available within the theme parks actively infringed upon its patent and requested an injunction against the service be ordered.
Apparently the team of Disney lawyers felt it was in their best interest to not go the common route of seeking methods for simply having the case thrown out, but have instead opted to help Walker Digital’s cause by telling them exactly who to sue. As a result, an amended complaint was filed yesterday to name Disney Photo Imaging, LLC as the
plaintiff defendant as advised by both DPI and The Walt Disney Company.
Walker Digital, who stepped into the legal spotlight earlier this year when it went to sue over 100 technology companies for patent infringements, is at it again. This time, they have their sights set on The Walt Disney Company, specifically Disney Photo Imaging, the business unit behind the Disney PhotoPass service at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
Even if I were to understand half of this, I don’t think I understand any of this, thus it’s right up my alley. Some underwriters at Lloyds of London recently filed a claim against Thomas Wright of Loganville, Georgia, owner of Paintball Sports Promotions and Disney Parks and Resorts, specifically Walt Disney World, in what appears to be the next step in an already complicated legal mess.