Disney is attempting to prevent DJ/producer Deadmau5 from trademarking his signature mouse-head logo, claiming it’s too similar to the iconic Mickey Mouse silhouette. Signs that the entertainment giant would oppose the application surfaced in late March.
In a staggering 171-page notice of opposition filed Tuesday with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and first reported by TMZ, Disney traces its use of the familiar imagery back to “at least 1928,” with the introduction of Mickey in Steamboat Willie. Disney news site Stitch Kingdom has more details about the filing, in which the company argues the mouse ears have been a key element of its consumer products “at least as early as 1955” (that’s the year The Mickey Mouse Club premiered on television).
Deadmau5, aka Joel Zimmerman, has worn his signature headpiece during performances for about a decade, although the “mau5head” logo predates that. He applied for a U.S. trademark last year, but his attorney told TMZ he already holds the rights to the logo in 30 other countries.
An opposition to an applications is initially considered by trademark examining attorneys, but may be appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a body established by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Judgments of the TTAB may in turn be appealed in federal court.
Deadmau5 has 40 days to respond to Disney’s filing; his attorney Dina LaPolt told TMZ he won’t be bullied. The DJ himself weighed in on Twitter last night, writing, “Landed home to some interesting news: looks like Disney officially just filed in opposition of my trademark … lawyer up Mickey. […] Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are.”