In the most depressing trademark of the day news: Disney has opposed a clothing company’s attempt to register a trademark for WHO KILLED BAMBI arguing that people are bound to confuse the gloomy trademark with its gentle deer.
In October 2015, a New York City based men’s clothing company, Descendant of Thieves, filed to register the WHO KILLED BAMBI trademark in a class of good that covers all sort of clothing from t-shirts to blazers to LED shorts (yeah, I have no clue). Since this is an intent to use trademark, products bearing the mark are not yet being sold so we are unable to see if the clothing brand is trying to play off of Disney’s 1942 classic movie, Bambi.
Besides Disney’s use of the mark, there are other uses of the BAMBI name and even the WHO KILLED BAMBI phrase. “Who Killed Bambi?” was the title of a song by the punk rock group the “Sex Pistols” and it was also the name of a movie that was in development regarding the band. *Who Killed Bambi? *was due to be released in 1978 and to be direct by the infamous, Russ Meyer, off a script by Roger Ebert (yes, the film critic). The film was intended as a punk rock version of *A Hard Day’s Night *by the Beatles. Ebert claimed that only a day and a half’s worth of shooting took place when the filming was halted when 20th Century Fox, who were shocked by what they read in the script, pulled all funding. So there are other uses of the “Bambi” name besides Disney’s.
Last week, Disney formally opposed the registration of the WHO KILLED BAMBI trademark. In its opposition, Disney cites its eight registered BAMBI trademarks as grounds for potential confusion. Disney claims that consumers are likely to think that clothes bearing the mark originate from Disney, when they do not. Disney also claims that the proposed mark would dilute the distinctiveness and the famousness of its BAMBI trademark. While “Bambi” is just a name, Disney has built up a lot of goodwill and fame with the name; when most people first hear or see the BAMBI mark, they associate it with Disney.
Descendant of Thieves must now decide if it will fight for the registration of the mark or since the apparel is not yet being distributed, it can just take off like a deer into the woods and avoid the confrontation. We shall see if the clothing maker will respond to the opposition.