The childrens book publisher Chooseco, LLC, is suing Netflix after their phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure” was allegedly linked to the film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”.
Last year, the publishers filed a lawsuit against the streaming giants stating they own the trademark to the phrase.
They’re now reportedly demanding at least $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profits, whichever is greater, claiming infringement, dilution and unfair competition.
Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix’s bid to have the lawsuit dismissed has been denied by the judge in the case, allowing the suit to move forward.
Netflix had cited the First Amendment in their defence, whereby the use of a trademark must be misleading in order for the suit to have standing.
Disagreeing with the streaming company, the judge wrote, “Here, the protagonist of ‘Bandersnatch’ attempts to convert the fictional book ‘Bandersnatch’ into a video game, placing the book at the centre of the film’s plot. Netflix used Chooseco’s mark to describe the interactive narrative structure shared by the book, the video game, and the film itself.”
He continued, “Moreover, Netflix intended this narrative structure to comment on the mounting influence technology has in modern-day life. In addition, the mental imagery associated with Chooseco’s mark adds to ‘Bandersnatch’’s 1980s aesthetic. Thus, Netflix’s use of Chooseco’s mark clears the purposely low threshold of ‘Rogers’’ artistic relevance prong.”
According to a complaint filed in Vermont federal court in January, 2019, Chooseco, which has sold more than 265 million books, has been using “Choose Your Own Adventure” since the 1980s.
Referencing Netflix pursuing a licence in 2016, the complaint stated: “Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a licence.”
“On at least one occasion before the release of ‘Bandersnatch’, Chooseco sent a written cease and desist request to Netflix asking Netflix to stop using the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ phrase in connection with its marketing efforts for another television program.”
The much-talked about “Black Mirror” immersive movie allows viewers to choose their own plot. According to THR, Chooseco accused Netflix of confusing people, with many reportedly linking the publishers to the dark flick.
Netflix has no comment on the matter.