The DJ Deadmau5 is locked in a legal battle with Disney over his mouse-ears logo which the entertainment corporation says infringes its famous Mickey Mouse trademark.
The electronic musician, who commands fees of $500,000 for DJ sets, has been wearing his mouse head costume for 10 years.
He has established a trademark for it in 30 countries the UK, Japan, Germany and Italy and built a lucrative merchandise business from its usage.
Now the Walt Disney Company is seeking to block Deadmau5’s attempt to register the trademark in the US, and has filed a 171-page document which argues that the “mau5head” logo is too similar to its long-established Mickey ears.
Disney claims rights to the three-circle logo dating back to 1928 and says that their promotional machine has made it “famous”, “iconic” and “classic”.
A defiant Deadmau5, real name Joel Thomas Zimmerman, 33, from Canada, told Disney to “lawyer up”. The musician tweeted: “Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are.”
His lawyer, Dina LaPolt, said: “Given that the mau5head, and other identifying Deadmau5 trademarks, have been used in the US and around the world for almost a decade, we wonder why Disney is only now coming after Deadmau5. [We] will not be bullied.”
Disney only objected after Deadmau5 filed to register his logo with the US Patent and Trademark Office in June 2013. In 2012, the DJ said: “Someone at the Disney patent office fell asleep on that one.”
Disney now claims that the “mau5head” is “likely ... to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive”.
The DJ’s mouse ears are “nearly identical in appearance, connotation, and overall commercial impression” to their own “iconic” mouse ears.