Disney files Trademark lawsuit over Frozen

Onyeka Ibeanusi  | Wednesday, 25 December 2013 | 1128 Total Views


With the release of Frozen still relatively fresh, Disney is going to court against an alleged imitator. According to a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in California federal court, Phase 4 Films changed the name of one of its films to Frozen Land, so as to trade off the success of the acclaimed animated feature.

"On November 1, 2013, less than three weeks before the Hollywood premiere of FROZEN on November 19, Phase 4 theatrically released an animated picture entitled The Legend of Sarila, which generated minimal box office revenues and received no significant attention," says the complaint.

The lawsuit adds that Phase 4 knew of Frozen, and so to enhance the commercial success of Sarila, the defendant "redesigned the artwork, packaging, logo, and other promotional materials for its newly (and intentionally misleadingly) retitled film to mimic those used by [Disney] for FROZEN and related merchandise."
Although film titles can't be trademarked per se, that doesn't stop movie studios from registering marks for associated merchandise. There's also the Lanham Act, preventing entities from selling goods designed to confuse the source of origin of some trademark.