In our July 10, 2014 blog post, we emphasized the importance of acquiring trademark rights wherever the trademark owner will use its trademark. The importance of acquiring trademark rights in different countries is clearly illustrated by the recent trademark clash between Deadmau5 and Disney.
Joel Zimmerman, the famous Canadian DJ also known as “Deadmau5”, recently sought federal trademark registration for his mouse head logo (“mau5head”) in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Disney filed an opposition. Disney’s opposition is based on the claim that Zimmerman’s mouse logo supposedly so closely resembles the iconic Mickey Mouse logo that use of the mau5head logo is likely to cause consumer confusion.
Do you think customers would likely be confused? Below are the two logos for your consideration.
Zimmerman’s attorney has argued that Zimmerman has been using his mouse head logo for over a decade, and holds trademarks on the logo in other countries. However, Zimmerman never sought a trademark registration for his logo in the United States. On the other hand, Disney has long owned the rights to the Mickey Mouse logo in the United States.
This trademark battle between Disney and Deadmau5 seems to have just begun. We will have to wait and see who succeeds with regard to the mouse head logo.
Nonetheless, this legal battle between Disney and Deadmau5 illustrates the importance of protecting your trademark and acquiring trademark protection in every country where you plan to use a trademark to market and sell goods or services. Furthermore, in order to avoid expensive litigation, it is important for any trademark owner contemplating sales in multiple countries to consult with trademark counsel about trademark protection.