Disney Officially Seeks To Block Deadmau5's Trademark Claim

from the because-you-might-confuse-an-electronic-musician-with-a-cartoon-mouse dept

Apparently it's a big deadmau5 day on Techdirt. Not only do we have the story of Ferrari looking into blocking the sale of his Purrari, Disney is officially opposing his attempt to trademark his logo mousehead, which he famously wears in concert. Deadmau5 responded to this by saying "lawyer up mickey" though we're pretty sure that Mickey's been quite "lawyered up" for a long, long, long time. He further noted:
While he's right that the likelihood of confusion may not be that strong, it wouldn't actually be a surprise to see Disney win this. Disney has a big music business on its own, and Deadmau5's mouse head may be considered similar enough. I personally think it's silly, and the real likelihood that anyone thinks Deadmau5 is associated with Disney is pretty slim, but the USPTO doesn't always agree with me, and (again) "Mickey" has some powerful lawyers on his side.

Of course, it's not really a big deal if Disney succeeds here. All it would do is block Deadmau5 from having a registered trademark on the design, but that's neither necessary nor required. The real question is if Disney would go even further and attempt to block Deadmau5 from continuing to use the design. That... would be a lot more questionable.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    I know the mouse head you speak of. I had no idea it was associated with Deadmau5, nor had any idea at all what it was. But, even with having a completely blank slate, I didn't even think for a moment that it was Disney.

    It actually reminds me more of the robot from Heavy Metal. Maybe there's a trademark claim there. Does Disney own Heavy Metal?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:16pm

    The irony? Mickey Mouse might be / might have been in the public domain to begin with due to lack of vigilance on Disney's part...

     

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  3.  
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    mr. sim (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    the question is that he's been using the logo for ten years and disney has never once attempted to sue or claim he's infringing their IP. i think that might be a huge question come to trial, if everyone chips in on his legal fees do you think we could have the court decide that disney loses their trademarks involved in this because they didn't protect them.

     

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    Rabbit80, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:27pm

    The mouse on his twitter feed is Jerry mouse from Tom and Jerry though.. They might have a claim over that.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:29pm

    It's one thing to let someone use a derivative or a satire of your mouse (maybe Disney has heard of Ms. Streisand), and another thing entirely to let that someone trademark it. I don't have much problem with Disney on this one.

    By the way I always thought deadmau5's hat was related to Mickey, similar to Mortimer the Mouse in Bloom County -- an intentional jab at Disney.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:05pm

    Re:

    fwiw, I think that would be Time Warner, they bought Hanna-Barbera.

     

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  7.  
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    Whatever (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:09pm

    Re:

    The real difference here is that dead rodent is attempting to cross the line from any parody that might of occurred into creating his own trademark - generally a sign of an attempt to profit or build a brand based on it.

    Disney should win this case hands down, and then very likely the dead rodent will be forced to change his look entirely to avoid future infringement on the mark. I suspect that is exactly what he wants.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:17pm

    Definitely Jerry of the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Similar copy of the same image of Jerry Mouse here: www.super-coloring-books.com/coloring-books-to-print-and-download-free.php?id=309

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re:

    If this is true, then why would you allow Disney to have a trademark on any of their characters?

    They are obviously ripping off from the public domain and closely resembles a mouse, a dog, a duck, and so forth. Deadmau5 has the privilege to create a trademark out of something even if it closely resembles someone elses IP so long as it cannot be confused with that someone elses IP.

    That is the law, unfortunately too many stupid people like you (judges included) roam the earth and are dumb enough to think and believe the way you do, despite what the law clearly points out.

    Have you received your sheeple money from Disney yet? if not... well, at least a smart person would obtain some compensation for selling their soul but not you huh?

     

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  10.  
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    Whatever (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is that what he is trying to trademark is essentially Disney's existing trademark colored in. Disney may be an extremist company when it comes to copyright and trademark, but they are also very careful when it comes to using their marks consistently and building very strong brand recognition.

    Show my 5 year old the dead rodent trademark attempt, and he says "Mickey Mouse". If a 5 year old can see it, then it's pretty freaking obvious.

    Have you received your sheeple money from Disney yet?

    I was treating you like a normal person until I got there. Then I figured out you are just a troll. Shoo troll!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re:

    It's too late. Deadmau5 has already built a brand. If Disney could even argue that they have trademark rights over Deadmau5's logo, they haven't enforced it for several years. Everyone argues that they have to sue others over trademark violations or they'll lose their trademark. It seems like if they admit that Deadmau5's logo is close enough to infringe, then it should be close enough to invalidate their trademark on the very basic geometric shape of 2 circles partially overlapping a 3 circle.

     

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  12.  
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    DogBreath, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If a 5 year old can see it, then it's pretty freaking obvious.

    And that folks is why we let 5 year olds decide obviousness of trademarks, when their bedtime is going to be, how much ice cream they are going to eat for dinner, when to bathe, change clothes, take medicine, drive, operate heavy machinery, vote, control major air traffic control routes, invade foreign countries in the name of freedom, and when to launch nuclear weapons... oh, wait, we don't.

     

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  13.  
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    1st Dread Pirate Roberts (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:13pm

    The Spoils

    To the brib- (err, contributors) go the spoils.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There must be some 5 year olds working at the USPTO if they think something this simple deserves a trademark.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that the deadmau5 ears aren't circular, and Disney certainly doesn't have a claim on the eyes and mouth.

    Asking a 5 year old is also a moot point. All the presentation of the question does is establish to him that you're asking him a question that he has the contextual knowledge to understand. I can hold up a yellow rectangular sponge to a kid - if he says "Spongebob" does that suddenly mean trademark infringement?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 9:31pm

    Hickety, dickety, dock,
    Disney ran out of clock.
    The clock struck 10,
    The Deadmau5 just grinned ,
    Hickety, dickety, dock.

    If it looks like a micky mouse is probably mighty mouse.

     

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  17.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 9:39pm

    So the guy that flies in the face of copyright is not going to start playing the trademark game?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:18pm

    Re:

    apples vs. cabbages, trademark vs. copyright... different kettle of fish.

    public domain talk belongs to the copyright side of things, this is a trademark dispute.

     

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  19.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Now that would be hilarious. If they try and argue that his logo/trademark is similar enough to theirs to be infringing, then they have to answer the question of why didn't they immediately object to it when he first came out with it. It's not like he's a small, unknown artist, so the idea that they only just recently became aware of him wouldn't likely go over very well in court.

    A case of winning the battle but losing the war as it were.

     

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  20.  
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    MrTroy (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can register a trademark on a collection of letters. Why is it surprising that you can register a trademark on a collection of circles?

    Determining whether a particular expression is trademarkable is probably similar to determining whether this is art. But mostly in that people will disagree.

     

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  21.  
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    MrTroy (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:36pm

    Re: Re:

    The real difference here is that dead rodent is attempting to cross the line from any parody that might of occurred into creating his own trademark - generally a sign of an attempt to profit or build a brand based on it.
    I don't think deadmau5 ever cared about, let alone parodied, Disney. His logo looks (to me) more like a stylised mouse head that happens to resemble the Disney logo than a modified version of Disney's logo. Then again, I also think that unrelated use should be just as protected as parody use though, so what do I know?

    I do agree however that deadmau5 attempting to trademark his logo is a completely different situation than him just using his logo, regardless of intent. At that point, it's not very surprising at all that Disney would attempt to block the registration of a trademark similar to their own.

    It's just as obvious as ignoring someone who is doing something similar to something you've patented, but deciding to step in when they try to patent it themself. Isn't it?

     

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  22.  
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    David, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 1:29am

    Huh

    You wouldn't confuse Annette Funicello with a cartoon mouse character either but she's clearly wearing trademark-relevant Mickey Mouse ears.

    I mean, calling those things "mouse ears" is way inaccurate since they are not anything like the ears of even a wood mouse.

    I mean they look more like Gertrude DuPont's hair style.

     

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  23.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 5:11am

    Re:

    Hmmm I disagree. Why all mouses should be considered derivatives of Mickey? His logo is clearly different from Disney and we only think of Disney automatically associated with mouses because it's one of the most famous and long running examples.

    And even if he got inspired by Mickey again, why should Disney be the only one that can use a mouse silhouette in one of their brands? Both drawings are clearly different.

    Check the logos: http://www.globaldanceelectronichq.com/2014/04/deadmau5s-attempt-to-trademark-logo.html

    I honestly don't see any similarities other than being mouses. And Mickey being uglier.

     

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  24.  
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    Mat, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    IF this is the way you're looking at it, then you're pretty much saying any large circle with 2 slightly smaller circles attached to it is intellectual property of Disney. Because your 5 year old has grown up force fed Mickey Mouse doesn't mean you're right.

    Your 5 year old would say it's Mickey Mouse because they've never in their life had anything else to compare it to. At 5 & 6, mine were pretty aware of the difference immediately.

    The fact is, he's not trying to make money from 5 year old kids or adults by posing as Mickey Mouse. With that said, he's going to lose. He's not going to lose because it's that close to the forsaken Mickey Mouse Disney shits, but because the Jury and Judge has had Disney engraved in their brains all their life, and they're oblivious to anything outside of their own fucking bubble.

    "HEY... there's a quarter and 2 pennies! EEETs MICKEY MOUSE!! DURR HURRRRR".

     

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  25.  
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    nasch (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    Rhyming 10 with grinned? Terrible! ;-)

     

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  26.  
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    locutus (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Disney is satan

    It doesn't help matters, that Disney just so happens to own most of the courts and judges, at least in Southern California and most of Florida. Disney creates more Disney-worshipers by plying these legal beagles with cruise tickets, free admissions to their wondrous theme parks and other perks of the trade, along with frequent reminders of Disney contributions to sales-tax bases (through the hawking of overpriced, cheaply made "merchandise" to the idiot masses). We all know Disney has no moral base whatsoever, reflecting upon the hoards of pirated creative works stolen, bastardized and marketed by the Disney machine. (Who else would make a child-appealing lovable tale of Pocahontas, who in reality was forced to travel to England to serve as a sex slave to ruddy drunken "explorers", before being infected with a fatal case of syphilis?) Add to that the careers of thousands of workers in media, utterly destroyed through takeovers (such as ABC and Marvel), many of which were done strictly in a vindictive spirit, a fine example of a "family friendly" concern.

     

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  27.  
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    nasch (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Disney is satan

    Who else would make a child-appealing lovable tale of Pocahontas, who in reality was forced to travel to England to serve as a sex slave to ruddy drunken "explorers", before being infected with a fatal case of syphilis?

    If you have sources to back that up, you might consider updating Wikipedia, because that isn't what the entry for Pocahontas says.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 2:55pm

    If forced to change easy solution

    Change it to actually be an undead head of Mickey Mouse. I've always wanted to see more undead Mickey Mouse depictions as satire of eternal copyrights. Parody protection ahoy!

     

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  29.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Disney is satan

    This is a point of dispute amongst historians. There is absolutely evidence to support that characterization, although not enough to call "proof". I think the truth is somewhere between the two extremes.

    One thing that's for certain is that Disney's Pocahantas is thoroughly sanitized and bears almost no resemblance to the actual history. For one thing, Pocahantas was 10 years old when she and John Smith first met, and was little older than that when he was having sex with her.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 3:58pm

    https://i.imgur.com/oDUJr8C.gif is this minnie and mickey

     

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  31.  
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    Locutus (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re: Disney is satan

    Turn off Rush Limbaugh long enough to check with any American Indian historian.

     

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  32.  
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    Locutus (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Disney is satan

    John: Please pay no attention to the "Rush Limbaugh" reply; that was NOT directed at you. Your comment was more than reasonable!

     

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

  33.  
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    nasch (profile), Sep 5th, 2014 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Disney is satan

    Turn off Rush Limbaugh long enough to check with any American Indian historian.

    What in the world are you talking about? Did you see "Wikipedia" and think "Rush Limbaugh"? Or is anyone who questions something you said automatically a right wing Rush Limbaugh follower? Either way that must really get in the way of having a reasonable discussion.

     

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  34.  
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    Locutus (profile), Sep 5th, 2014 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Disney is satan

    Excuse me, I meant Sean Hannity.

     

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  35.  
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    nasch (profile), Sep 6th, 2014 @ 5:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Disney is satan

    Excuse me, I meant Sean Hannity.

    Oh well that makes it all better.

    /sarcasm

    That reminds of this gem though from my favorite conservative TV personality:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/07/colbert-apparently-kid-hannity_n_5658115.html

     

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


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