Deadmau5 (\’ded-mau's\; a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman) is a popular house music artist who performs wearing a mouse-like head covering called the mau5head. On Twitter he calls himself an “Event Driven Marketing specialist,” so I thought this was a fitting subject for the hip legal, creative and marketing folks who follow us here at DuetsBlog – although it is also a clever backronym for EDM.
Look familiar at all? Here comes the drop…
The Hollywood Reporter featured a story on an apparent brewing tiff between deadmau5 and Disney based on the filing of an extension request to oppose Ronica Holdings’ application for deadmau5's logo. The application claims a plethora of goods and services, including beer, toys, apparel, backpacks, metronomes, digital music, entertainment services, and BMX bikes.
Disney owns registrations (here and here) for the mark below for various apparel items, backpacks, and luggage, in addition to some marks with Mickey Mouse:
But this appears to be a redux of a prior battle.
Back in 2009, Catbread Inc. filed an application for the same logo (albeit maybe a little thinner at the corners of the mouth) on goods and services that overlap with those in the present application. Catbread later assigned other deadmau5 logos to Ronica. Disney filed a couple requests to extend their deadline to oppose the application, and Catbread ultimately expressly abandoned the application in 2011.
But Disney didn’t attempt to oppose (or even file a request to extend their deadline to oppose) this registered logo:
I assume that the express abandonment of the prior application came after discussions between deadmau5's legal team and Mr. Mouse (an inaccurate portrayal, but I had to throw in a funny South Park clip). Typically such an express abandonment comes either as part of a settlement or else perhaps the applicant quietly decided to simply abandon the application rather than deal with a response to a demand letter signed by Mr. Mouse. In addition to the application, Disney’s legal counsel must have been aware of some use of the deadmau5 mark and potential associated trade dress issues. On the other side, prior to filing the new application, this seems like a battle that deadmau5's counsel likely anticipated with the new filing. But since 2011, deadmau5's popularity has grown substantially, so maybe there is more incentive and more evidence to support that the deadmau5 mark is not confusingly similar to Mickey.
Who do you think prevails on this one – deadmau5 or Mr. Mouse?