It appears that Disney's Pixar division is engaged in two separate, but interesting, trademark battles (though the two are quite different). The first involves a Canadian oil company that decided to call its new division Pixar Petroleum. Turns out that Pixar isn't happy about that and is taking legal action
. One of the points raised is that Pixar chief John Lasseter is a big proponent of alternative fuels and may not like any association with an oil company. Of course, that alone doesn't make for a reasonable trademark claim. In fact, I'm wondering if there is a reasonable trademark claim here at all. Trademarks cover the specific industries in which you use the mark in commerce, and despite movies like Cars
, it seems like a pretty big reach to suggest that digital animation studio Pixar is in the same industry as oil producing Pixar. While it might cause a doubletake, I'm not sure that any of your traditional morons in a hurry would actually think that the characters from Toys
were setting up oil refineries in Canada.
In this second dispute, Pixar finds itself on the other side of the coin. The major league baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, are apparently trying to dispute Pixar's attempt to register Brave
as a trademark. Pixar wants the name because it's releasing a movie with that name. Of course, the baseball team doesn't actually hold a registered trademark on just "Brave." Instead its registered marks are on the plural version. This doesn't entirely exclude their protest, as they can argue a common law trademark or a likelihood of confusion.
Either way, I'm at a loss as to where the confusion would be here as well. I don't see anyone going to see the Pixar movie and then being disappointed that it wasn't a baseball game.