Deadmau5 fights Disney in mouse ear logo dispute

Disney wants to prevent the DJ trademarking his costume in the US

Adam Sherwin
Friday 05 September 2014 08:58 BST
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Disney claims rights to the three-circle logo dating back to 1928
Disney claims rights to the three-circle logo dating back to 1928 (Getty Images)

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”.

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The DJ’s mouse ears are “nearly identical in appearance, connotation, and overall commercial impression” to their own “iconic” mouse ears.

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