This holiday season Disney released its newest animated film “Frozen.” To celebrate, the company presented Phase 4 Films with a gift worse than Aunt Edna’s fruit cake – a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Disney’s “Frozen” was released on November 19, 2013. Less than three weeks earlier, Phase 4 changed the title of one of its from “The Legend of Sarila” to “Frozen Land.” In a December 23 complaint, Disney stated the change was an attempt to ride the coattails of “Frozen’s” success.
Under its original title, Phase 4’s film received little attention or success in the U.S. Disney contends, Phase 4 “redesigned the artwork, packaging, logo, and other promotional material for its newly (and intentionally misleadingly) retitled film to mimic those used by [Disney] for Frozen” hoping to generate more revenue.
The new title is not directly at issue, but rather the changes associated with the new title. According to Disney, the “Frozen Land” logo is very similar to the “Frozen” logo. Both include “jagged, uneven edges on the lettering, dramatic flourishes on the letters, and an elongated R and Z that cradle a stylized O that curves into itself and does not close entirely.” The changes allegedly violate Disney’s trademarks.
Disney claims the “nearly identical” logo is a violation of the Lanham Act and other laws. The Lanham Act forbids companies from selling goods designed to confuse the source of origin of a trademark. Disney alleges Phase 4 “intended its logo to replicate the ‘Frozen’ trademark logo.”
Disney is pursuing an injunction and the destruction of all “Frozen Land” DVDs. Additionally, it is seeking damages.