Netflix has been smacked with a lawsuit over 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' that claims it 'tarnishes' the 'choose your own adventure' trademark

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  • Children’s book publisher Chooseco filed a lawsuit against Netflix on Friday for trademark infringement over the use of „choose your own adventure“ in its interactive movie, „Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.“
  • The lawsuit claimed that the „grim content“ and „dark and violent themes“ of „Bandersnatch“ „tarnishes“ the „choose your own adventure“ trademark.
  • The suit alleged Netflix pursued a license in 2016, but never received it after ongoing negotiations over a number of years.

Netflix’s new interactive „Black Mirror“ movie, „Bandersnatch,“ has led to a lawsuit.

Chooseco, the children’s book publisher that owns the trademark to „choose your own adventure,“ filed a lawsuit against the streaming giant in Vermont on Friday alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and dilution.

The company is seeking $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profits from „Bandersnatch,“ whatever is greater, as well as attorney fees and costs.

Netflix declined to comment to Business Insider about the lawsuit.

„Black Mirror: Bandersnatch“ follows a programmer in the 1980s named Stefan Butler who is tasked with making a video game based on a „choose your own adventure“ book called „Bandersnatch.“ 

READ MORE: ‚Black Mirror‘ creator tells fans to ‚f— off‘ if they don’t like making choices during Netflix’s ‚Bandersnatch‘

The lawsuit pointed to a scene in the movie that directly refers to „Bandersnatch“ being a „choose your own adventure“ book.

The suit said:

„Butler’s father remarks that Davies must not be a good writer because Butler is ‚always flicking backwards and forwards in that.‘ This feature-flipping back and forth-is a hallmark of a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE book. Butler responds next that Bander snatch is a ‚Choose Your Own Adventure‘ book.“

The lawsuit also alleged the association of „choose your own adventure“ with the „grim content“ of „Bandersnatch“ „tarnishes Chooseco’s famous trademark.“

The suit said:

„Overall, Bandersnatch is a dark film and the video game that Butler creates in it based on its fictional inspiration is equally dark. Nearly every narrative fork includes disturbing and violent imagery. The movie has a rating of TV-MA, which means the content is specifically designed to be viewed by adults. Depending on the choices the viewer makes, it can include references to and depictions of a demonic presence, violent fighting, drug use, murder, mutilation of a corpse, decapitation, and other upsetting imagery. These dark and violent themes are too mature for the target audience of Chooseco’s CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BOOKS.“

The lawsuit claimed that Netflix pursued a license to „choose your own adventure“ in 2016 for films and interactive cartoons, but did not receive a license after ongoing negotiations for a number of years.

Chooseco sent Netflix a written cease-and-desist letter before the release of „Bandersnatch“ on December 28, asking Netflix to stop using „choose your own adventure“ in „connection with its marketing efforts for another television
program,“ the lawsuit claimed. 

Netflix dabbled in interactive storytelling prior to „Bandersnatch“ with children’s programs like the animated „Puss In Book“ in 2017, and „Minecraft: Story Mode“ in December, an animated series based on the popular video game.

SEE ALSO: Netflix’s ‚Black Mirror‘ season 5 was delayed because ‚Bandersnatch‘ took so long to make, but it’s still coming in 2019

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Source: business insider

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