Netflix faces another setback over the lawsuit by the children’s book publisher on ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’. The judge ruled in favor of the publisher holding the $25 million lawsuit claiming that the First Amendment cannot protect Netflix at this stage.
Netflix attempt to escape a lawsuit brought by the trademark owner of “Choose Your Own Adventure” over the immersive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch failed terribly because of the ruling of Judge.
“Here, the protagonist of Bandersnatch attempts to convert the fictional book ‘Bandersnatch’ into a videogame, placing the book at the center of the film’s plot,” states the ruling. “Netflix used Chooseco’s mark to describe the interactive narrative structure shared by the book, the videogame, and the film itself. Moreover, Netflix intended this narrative structure to comment on the mounting influence technology has in modern-day life. In addition, the mental imagery associated with Chooseco’s mark adds to Bandersnatch’s 1980s aesthetic. Thus, Netflix’s use of Chooseco’s mark clears the purposely-low threshold of Rogers’ artistic relevance prong.”
“Here, Chooseco has sufficiently alleged that consumers associate its mark with interactive books and that the mark covers other forms of interactive media, including films,” continues the decision. “The protagonist in Bandersnatch explicitly stated that the fictitious book at the center of the film’s plot was a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book. In addition, the book, the videogame, and the film itself all employ the same type of interactivity as Chooseco’s products. The similarity between Chooseco’s products, Netflix’s film, and the fictitious book Netflix described as a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book increases the likelihood of consumer confusion.”
“Additionally, choose your own adventure arguably is not purely descriptive of narrative techniques — it requires at least some imagination to link the phrase to interactive plotlines,” adds Judge Sessions. “Moreover, any descriptive aspects of the phrase may stem from Chooseco’s mark itself. In other words, the phrase may only have descriptive qualities because Chooseco attached it to its popular interactive book series. The Court lacks the facts necessary to determine whether consumers perceive the phrase in a descriptive sense or whether they simply associate it with Chooseco’s brand.”