Hot Mouse On Mau5 Action! Disney To Challenge Deadmau5's Latest Trademark Filing

from the rounded-ears-are-like-rounded-corners:-actionable dept

Disney is the country's foremost copyright enthusiast, going so far as to have a law unofficially named for its most famous character, one whose very existence ensures the march towards copyright protection in perpetuity. But Disney is no slouch in the trademark department, especially if anything happens to slightly resemble its prized mouse.

Enter Deadmau5, DJ, producer and wearer of some of the most magnificent head accoutrements this side of pimps and/or Lady Gaga. Deadmau5, aka Joel Zimmerman, has finally caught the attention of Disney's IP lawyers with his latest trademark registration, a head-on view of his logo.


This logo, which Deadmau5 has used for years (trademark registrations for another view of the logo/headgear dates back to 2009), has been greeted with this.
On Friday, Disney let it be known at the U.S. Trademark Office that it is investigating a trademark registration filed by Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse").
Compare the above with Disney's infamous, undead mouse.


Sure, there's some comparison but it would take serious myopia to confuse the two. For one, Disney's exploitation of this iconic image has imprinted it on the minds (and wallets) of millions of people worldwide. Plus, every piece of merchandise marketed by the Disney Corporation also contains its equally ubiquitous Disney scrawl, letting the purchaser know that they're paying too much for this otherwise unremarkable product.

But to hold a trademark means defending it, even when "defending" more often resembles "attacking" and when a moron in a hurry not only wouldn't be confused, but would bypass both products in his haste to spread ignorance at the nearest water cooler/house party/comment thread. It's totally within Disney's rights to contest this, and to protect its most cherished piece of IP, there's no way it won't. As far as Disney is concerned, there's only one mouse logo in the world and it already owns it.

[Besides, I've seen worse go unpunished. Of course, it helps that the album using this artwork was never released…]


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
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    mcinsand, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:01am

    disney and album covers

    Ah, but you reminded me of one of my favorite '80's albums:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stukas_Over_Disneyland

    Looking back, I'm surprised that The Dickies weren't sued over the mouse profile.

     

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    CSMcDonald (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:15am

    Considering that part of Disney's Mouse Ears branding is just the silhouette, I find this way too close to the mouse ears on all things Disney related - if I saw this mark I would honestly think it was a Mickey Ears design.

    I'm not a moron nor in a hurry.

     

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    Baron von Robber, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:15am

    The Dickies at Knotts Berry Farm

    I went to that show, it was hillarious when they played "Stukas Over Disneyland".
    The crowd went nuts and so did the Knotts management. :D

     

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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:15am

    OK, a moron in a hurry might get confused here. It does look a bit similar. The real shocker is that deadmau5 has used this for years and yet Disney only goes after him now. I do agree that most people will not get confused if they stop and think for a second though.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      Yeah it's not quite as easy as Disney might like it to be, and hopefully that's where Joel's lawyers can have some fun. You see, Mickey can never, ever "die" because Disney has proven itself willing, capable, and effective in lobbying for enhanced copyright protection (fact). Thus, the iconography for a "Deadmau5" can, in no way, be seen as a conflict. This is quite obviously the image of a Deadmau5, not a perpetually alive mouse.

       

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      TinaMarie (profile), Apr 5th, 2014 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      Exactly!!! That's what I've been saying. Deadmau5 has been around for years now.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:20am

    It looks similar, I'll admit that much. What a shame that I can't be arsed to care. Disney'll probably just extend the limits for another decade or three anyway.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:26am

    In other news

    Disney sues billions of live mice for infringement.

     

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      Bt Garner (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:45am

      Re: In other news

      May 17, 2018

      In an unprecedented move, a pre-teen from Newark, New Jersey was today sued by The Rolling Stones, the Elvis Presley estate, and also the Walt Disney company. At the center of the lawsuit is child's pet mouse, named "Mick Elvis" (aka, "Mick E. Mouse").

       

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      David, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 11:54pm

      Re: In other news

      Having carried off hundreds of live mice in traps, I can testify that head shape and most particularly ear shape of neither house mice, field mice, wood mice, brown rats and so on are anything like the rather similar Mickey Mouse and Deadmou5 ears. This is clearly an image allusion.

      I can fully understand that Walt Disney Corporation, having likely paid billions of dollars in bribes over the years in order to corrupt copyright law into something robbing the public of the Public Domain, including the imagery of Mickey Mouse created by the long-deceased Walt Disney, wants to see something in return for their buyout of multiple congresses.

      That logo clearly is a reference to the Mickey Mouse character, and as long as that character is kept in a zombified state where it is part of the cultural inheritage of America without being allowed to get referred, actions like Disney's are fully legally supportable.

      It's a travesty of common sense, but a lot of money has paid to the people who can turn a travesty of common sense into binding law.

       

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    Some Other AC (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Moron in a hurry test?

    Just on first glance:
    Ears are wrong, mouth is way different, eye shape and placement are way off.

    Those 3 observations took me all of about 3 seconds to process.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:41am

    Next Deadmous5 hit: "Deadmous5 ain't Mickey"

     

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    scotts13 (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 10:52am

    Yeah, me too.

    It's close. I wouldn't confuse them; my first impression is of an attempt to circumvent Disney's trademark. That is, to give the impression of "well-known cartoon mouse" without ACTUALLY being Mickey®.

    Question is, will that be enough? Sorta like having the color blue on a beer label to suggest "cold." Oh, wait...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 11:10am

      Re: Yeah, me too.

      Your point is interesting, and I think the origin of his name is more along the lines of actually finding a dead mouse in his computer or something. Guy is a way-back tech type of guy if I've heard right. Anyway, I'd almost like to see the Deadmau5 team bring in The Simpsons episode where Homer thinks they stole his face for Mr. Sparkle ("There's your answer, fish-bulb") - basically, Disney, the origin of the logo is independent of your property and was arrived at through an individual creative process. That is, you don't own every single mouse looking logo in the world just because it has ears, eyes, and a mouth.

      Or, to put it another way, "this one doesn't even have a nose, jerks."

       

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    Kaden (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 11:17am

    It's not like Joel...

     

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    Ac, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 4:38pm

    Morons

    Anyone who said it looks like mickey mouse is a moron. They are both way different, if you cant tell that then time to crawl out from under the rock and look at the world with open eyes not closed eyes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    It has nothing to do with Mickey Mouse.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2014 @ 4:55pm

    Bottom line, Who gives a F**K. SO what... oh it looks similar. ! Big deal. A honda and a kia look similar, hell maybe even have the same silhouette but the dont you can clearly tell them apart. I can tell these two logos apart very easily.
    Just stupid.

     

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    LT, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:30pm

    There is no question that Deadmau5 ripped-off the Disney logo (deliberately, or unconsciously).

    This has been the Disney logo before most of us were born. You see a pair of round mouse ears, and you automatically think Mickey Mouse.

    The reason Disney is just now noticing this... because Deadmau5 is pretty much unknown; it's small, and Canadian ... we're not talking about a top-40 USA pop group here.

    Deadmau5 has no chance in a legal battle. Disney lawyers will crush them. However, this will be good publicity for Deadmau5.

     

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      mike (profile), Sep 2nd, 2014 @ 10:21pm

      Re:

      you do realize that Disney has enough power to challenge ANY logo that looks even the tiniest bit similar? i took one look at the two and i could tell the deadmau5 head looks nothing like the Disney one. this is just another case of a big company going after a small artist or company just because they feel that their profits and image might be affected and why the hell would Disney, a company who does only kids and teens stuff go after a music producer who caters to adults? it makes no sense.....the only thing Disney stands to get out of this is the shutdown of a rising music producer!

       

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    Lee, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Next week on Techdirt an UNBIASED viewpoint on the Disney/Deadmou5 trademark issue...

     

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    Chris W, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:48am

    Copyright

    The best part of this whole thing is that technically Disney's own copyright can be called into question because they didn't follow the proper title card formatting according to the copyright law at the time of Steamboat Willie.

    http://www.public.asu.edu/~dkarjala/publicdomain/Vanpelt-s99.html

    http://articles.latimes.com/ 2008/aug/22/business/fi-mickey22

     

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