Netflix Continues To Release CYOA Content, Doesn't Refer To It As 'CYOA'...For Now

from the select-thee-own-path dept

This Chooseco and Netflix trademark dispute story gets more and more interesting. To catch you up, Netflix produced the Black Mirror iteration entitled Bandersnatch which both was, and was marketed as, a "choose your own adventure" production, similar to the CYOA books from our youth. There was also some dialogue within the production itself that referenced "choose your own adventure." For this, Chooseco, which has a trademark on the phrase, sued Netflix. Netflix tried to get the case tossed on First Amendment grounds, failed, and has since counterclaimed to have Chooseco's trademark cancelled entirely.

To highlight how stupid this all is, let's review some press from Netflix's latest iteration of its excellent Carmen Sandiego show, which includes post titles like Kotaku's Carmen Sandiego Is Getting Back To Its Gaming Roots With Netflix's Next Choose Your Own Adventure-Style Special.

Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal is a new special set in the continuity of Netflix’s animated reboot of the beloved adventure series, and sees Carmen forced into pairing up with her former sneaky tutors in the art of thievery at VILE Academy on a new string of heists. Why is Carmen working with her former frenemies? Because they’ve captured her friends Ivy and Zack, and are threatening to brainwash them into VILE’s latest operatives if she doesn’t team-up.

Judging by the trailer, this isn’t going to be a Black Mirror: Bandersnatch level of mutability and player choice, which is fine, considering this is more aimed at kids and families (you also may note Netflix is definitely not attaching the Choose Your Own Adventure name to this one).

That's true. Netflix is absolutely not using anything remotely close to the CYOA moniker to promote this thing. Why? Well, almost certainly because of the nonsense lawsuit its wrapped up in with Chooseco. However, you will notice that the press is quite happy to describe Netflix's new production by the genre moniker that makes the most sense: choose your own adventure.

This highlights the entire problem with Chooseco's lawsuit, as well as the reasoning behind Netflix seeking to cancel the trademark entirely. "Choose your own adventure" is either generic or descriptive, or perhaps some combination of both. What is isn't, to be sure, is somehow descriptive or distinctive of Chooseco products in particular.

And, yet, Chooseco's lawsuit rolls on.

Filed Under: black mirror, carmen sandiego, choose your own adventure, cyoa, trademark
Companies: chooseco, netflix

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 9:57am

    Forget all of the CYOA stuff. What we really want to know is...

    ...Are they using the Rockapella theme song from the 90s game show?

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