[Groop] Question on "trademarking"
mulch3 at hotmail.com
Sun May 19 12:16:15 PDT 2013
My understanding is that Disney never intended to own the name of the holiday outright. Company reps have stated that it was just easier and quicker to file so broadly in order to protect the products that will be coming out based on the film they're making ('Dia de los Muertos' is the tentative, 'working' title for the film right now). They withdrew the trademark request the moment they realized the world's misinterpretation and will almost certainly apply again once they know exactly what the title of the film is going to be.
Having worked for Disney for many years, and seen this sort of mistake before, I suspect that an employee in that division of the company got a little overzealous and submitted the request incorrectly, naiively and/or prematurely and that Disney is now doing damage control. The more experienced folks I know in the licensing division know that a company could never have gotten away with that and would never knowingly have put the company at risk (not to mention it would have been impossible to enforce!).
I'm not sure what the answer to your question would be, but I would think that any prior products would remain exclusive and exempt in a situation like this (I don't believe Sergio or Mexico or any other entity holds any exclusive rights to the name 'Dia de los Muertos' any more than any company or individual owns the rights to the words 'Thanksgiving' or 'Christmas' or 'Mother's Day').
When we were working on the film 'MULAN', Ping (the manufacturer of golf equipment) tried to sue Disney to stop them from naming the character in the film 'Ping.' Once a judge deemed that the two were so separate as to not cause the public confusion (nor to cause Ping the company financial harm), Disney was given the green light to use the name. In this case, Ping had trademarked the name 'Ping' and had all rights to it, but still could not prevent Disney from using it.
Rocky (the grooper formerly known as Finn)
To: groop at groo.com
From: bodhikt at aol.com
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 10:39:35 -0400
Subject: [Groop] Question on "trademarking"
Background: Disney tried to trademark the name "Dia de los Muertos", plus all the characters, etc. related to their new production... or anything that resembles them. (Don't worry. They didn't get the rights).
Question: Since Sergio already published a book (comic book, but still...) by that name, if they had gotten the trademark rights, would they have had to pay Sergio a licencing fee to use the name??? Seems to me, he has a prior "commercial" claim. And, so does Mexico, I suppose (which, essentially, is why they didn't get the rights).
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