Surprising, But True: Disney Gives Up Trademark Claim Over Mascot Duck

from the good-for-them dept

Last year, we wrote about how the University of Oregon cracked down on a great student video supporting the school's football team, because the team's mascot was in the video. Why should that matter? Well, it turns out that the team's mascot looks quite a bit like Donald Duck, whose trademark is (of course) owned by Disney. It turns out that Disney and the University of Oregon had a long-term handshake agreement made with Walt Disney himself, that said the University could use the duck as its mascot, but had to get agreements from the company to use it in any setting outside of the agreement -- hence the university freaking out about the student video. But, in some surprisingly good news, Maurice Troute alerts us to the news that Disney has now agreed that it has no trademark claim over the mascot. Apparently, printed logos and t-shirts and such still are covered by the Disney agreement -- but the physical mascot has been set free:
In an agreement finalized this week, Disney acknowledges that the "current incarnation of a costumed character featured at the University of Oregon's athletic and promotional events (the 'Oregon Duck') is not substantially similar" to Disney's Donald Duck character.
Kudos to Disney for apparently being willing to not just respect a decades old handshake agreement on this, but to recognize when it should no longer try to stretch the trademark and let a clearly distinct usage go free. Given that Disney has a history of being really aggressive over such things, this is a nice surprise.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    RD, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 8:23am

    There is a saying

    There is a saying that people use when referring to the Disney company: you dont f*ck with the mouse. This is, of course, reference to their hyper-litigious stance on anything that might even be remotely infringing on the precious mouse. It is one reason people are so nervous about them buying Marvel Comics, that they might drop the hammer on things like convention sketches and posters and such. Good to see that they can be reasonable at times, though I think this situation is far more the exception than the rule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    PolyPusher (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Disney is different now

    I have had nothing but disdain for Disney over the past years.

    When Disney purchased Pixar many important things happened. The most important being that John Lasseter was named Chief Creative Director. This has changed Disney and the culture of Disney dramatically.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 8:48am


    holy crap disney bought marvel?!?!?
    when did this happen and why wasn't iit in the news

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: WHAT!??!!

    Yes, that was done in back late December. You should see the "disney marvel mashups" shown by Google images.

    They say the purchase was primarily for the movie properties.

    That reminds me, I need to remember to reevaluate my news sources whenever I go "when did this happen"...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    PRMan, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:42pm


    Until next week, when they sue the crap out of Oregon...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    RD, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Re: WHAT!??!!

    "holy crap disney bought marvel?!?!?
    when did this happen and why wasn't iit in the news"

    It was floated originally around Sept/Oct and completed around new years. I was at several conventions in the fall where this was the big topic of conversation, and not a little amount of apprehension. The last thing the comics industry needs is an RIAA-like campaign of suing the few consumers of the product. It made the news in the mains, CNN, USAtoday, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.