Bandersnatch' sued for possible trademark infringement — Netflix's 'Black Mirror

Lawrence Kim
January 12, 2019

Netflix's hit thriller Black Mirror: Bandersnatch now has another twist: a lawsuit.

The lawsuit reveals that Netflix previously negotiated with Chooseco for the rights to "Choose Your Own Adventure" but a deal wasn't struck.

Moreover, Chooseco's filing revealed that as far back as 2016, Netflix had entered into discussions with the publisher over the possibility of obtaining a license that would have put them legally in the clear to use the "Choose Your Own Adventure" brand as a plot hook.

Netflix is in hot water for allegedly using a trademarked phrase in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Chooseco claims the "grim content" included in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch tarnishes their name and the dark themes in the film are too mature for their audience. Netflix will likely defend itself by claiming descriptive fair use and that it never used the phrase "Choose Your Own Adventure" in the marketing for Bandersnatch.

Bandersnatch, directed by Charlie Brooker, was released in December past year and allows the viewer to chose their own destiny during the film, where they ultimately go on to pick their own ending. Twentieth Century Fox now holds a license to make a film based on the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

"Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a license", the lawsuit reads. It sent a cease-and-desist letter to Netflix before the show's release. A decade ago, the publisher sued Daimler Chrysler for using the "Choose your Adventure" slogan in a campaign for Jeeps. Again, per Variety: "The suit also contends that the film is violent and disturbing - including references to murder, decapitation, drug use, and the mutilation of a corpse - which is inappropriate for the young adult readers of the book series".

Chooseco, which has owned the trademark since the 1980s, is claiming infringement, dilution and unfair competition and demanding at least $US25 million ($35 million) in damages or Netflix's profits, whichever is greater.

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