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Is the Disney Cake Lawsuit Ridiculous or Justified?

  • By: Robert Klein

Disney has filed a lawsuit against Wilson Cake Imaging over allegations it is creating frostings displaying trademark-protected characters, such as Luke Skywalker and Iron Man. Some of the cake designs have sold on eBay, depicting pictures of Yoda telling people “Have a happy birthday you must”. The Disney cake lawsuit could discourage other cake makers from using trademarked characters, which is currently a common practice.

The case was filed in California in early September, with Disney, Marvel, LucasFilm and Sanrio suing two cake makers for trademark infringement. According to court documents, the cake makers used characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Captain America, Hello Kitty, the Incredible Hulk and Darth Vader. Court documents also claim the cake makers received cease and desist letters but refused to acknowledge them. Disney and the other media companies involved in the lawsuit are asking the court to seize all molds, screens, patterns, machinery, plates and other materials used to make the cakes.

The two cake makers could find themselves in even more legal trouble, as press reports claim they also make cakes based on popular video games like as Halo and Assassin’s Creed. Whatever the case may be, the Force is not strong with these cake makers.

Is Disney Overreacting by Suing Cake Makers for Trademark Infringement?

Businesses put a lot of time, money and effort into creating or acquiring the rights to iconic brands, characters and other intellectual property. Although it might seem ridiculous to some, these characters are worth billions of dollars to Disney and the other media companies involved in the lawsuit. For example, Disney had to spend a whopping $4 billion to buy the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas in 2013. It should not be surprising it would take copyright and trademark infringement very seriously.

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Robert Klein

About the Author Attorney Robert Klein is a former CPA and known for
finding creative solutions to complex business lawsuits.