“Lawyer up, Mickey.”
So goes the tweet put out by Deadmau5 this week. Disney is taking legal action against the Canadian DJ over the trademark they seem to have in common: the mouse head with big ears. Joel “Deadmau5” Zimmerman is not having it, and tweeted his defiant retort after he got the news. A while later, he spoke again: “Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician / performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are.” While the company has officially filed in opposition, it’s unclear as to whether or not this mouse vs. mau5 matter will end up in court.
The musician’s logo has been recognized around the world for almost 10 years. Zimmerman saw to it that the front-facing mau5head became a registered trademark in 30 countries, including Germany, Ireland, the U.K., France, and Japan. Last year, the artist acknowledged the similarity in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying, “Someone at the Disney patent office fell asleep on that one.” Maybe it took them a while, but they’re certainly awake now.
According to Dina LaPolt (his attorney), Deadmau5 filed to register the mau5head with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June of 2013. Disney is fighting the filing more than a year later, submitting a 171-page opposition this month. Fans are wondering alongside the musician why the company has waited this long to pursue the issue. “Our client will not be bullied by Disney,” said LaPolt, “and is prepared to fight to protect his rights to his property.”
Disney’s complaint claims that the trademark, if assigned to the DJ, would damage business and may mislead customers. If Zimmerman’s request went through, the logo would be permitted to appear on a wide range of products, from bicycles to coffee cups.
Twitter is exploding with responses (as Twitter is wont to do). Fans of the DJ are showing support, and anti-fans are rooting for the success of Disney’s mousetrap. Some tweeted at Deadmau5, suggesting he disappear into yet another alias. Some told him to get a new trademark, to which he responded “Sorry, I’m no little b*** who’s going to fold under a money hungry corporation over some bulls***. You do your thing tho. k?” He didn’t stop there. One sarcastic use of a Disney-ism read: “wishes upon star to become the thing I am today. Becomes the thing. Gets stomped on. Haha wut? Seems legit.” Later: “I’m sorry Frozen tanked huge. I really am. But c’mon.”