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Disney Pulled Into Another First Amendment Lawsuit

Disney sued over copyright infringement
Indiana Jones is about to get Disney in trouble. Credit: LucasFilms

Whether it wants to or not, Disney appears to be making legal history with its First Amendment cases. Disney was already knee-deep in two cases involving the First Amendment, and now, they are being dragged into a third.

Disney's loss at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court/ Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story 3. Credit: Flickr Thomas Hawk/ Disney Pixar

The Supreme Court recently ruled against Disney, saying that a lower court should hear the case of a toymaker suing the Walt Disney Company. The case stems from Disney’s use of the Lots-O-Huggin bear in Toy Story 3 (2010). The company claims that even though Disney was using the bear for artistic purposes, the use violated its trademark. A Federal Court in California will now hear this case.

Disney is also in the midst of its First Amendment lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Disney claims that the Governor and Florida Legislature retaliated against the Disney Company after it responded to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. Disney alleges the Governor infringed on the company’s right to free speech by stripping away the Reedy Creek Improvement District and replacing it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. There is no timetable for this case to be heard by a Federal Court.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

And now there’s a third. The Walt Disney Company and LucasFilms are being sued by a company that makes knapsacks, claiming that a bag used in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) was one of there’s and not made by the company Lucasfilms partnered with for the film.

Superior Tech LLC, which produces bags as Frost River, claims that a knapsack used in the film and a national marketing campaign is one of there’s and not a bag made by C.C. Filson Co. Disney and LucasFilms partnered with Filson for a national campaign to market the bags that were used in the film. Still, Frost River claims their bag was used in the film and marketing material.

The complaint says:

Indeed, Lucasfilm and Filson were so brazen in their marketing and disregard for Frost River’s rights to its intellectual property, that they used clips of Indiana Jones wearing Frost River’s Geologist Pack on Filson’s own website. A consumer visiting Filson’s website is led to believe, by implication, that the bags featured in the Indiana Jones 5 film were manufactured by Filson and are genuine Filson products.

Indiana Jones failure

Credit: Lucasfilm

The bag is displayed on-screen for approximately 12 minutes while Indiana Jones is in Sicily. Disney could have used the bag in the film by paying a small merchandising fee, but using the bag in the marketing campaign opens up a new legal headache.

The lawsuit claims that Lucasfilms removed the trademark from the bag, passing it off as a generic product. The copyright infringement lawsuit also claims that Disney did this to obscure Frost River’s trademark.

The Walt Disney Company must defend its intellectual property against copyright infringement as it did in the Toy Story case. There is no timetable for hearing the case in United State District Court.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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