There has been a mystery about the ownership to the copyrights for the Sherlock Holmes series lately but one thing not in question is the trademark SHERLOCK HOLMES which is owned by the estate for the author Sir Authur Conan Doyle.  Last week, Doyle’s estate opposed the makers of the sequel to the movie Gnomeo & Juliet attempt to register the mark SHERLOCK GNOMES.
Recently, a court determined that an large amount of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels and stories fell into the public domain.  You can read more about that decision here.  However, one thing that has not fallen into the public domain are the trademarks associated with Doyle’s work including SHERLOCK HOLMES.  Rocket Pictures, the studio behind the 2011 movie Gnomeo & Juliet, which surprisingly grossed $194 million at the world-wide box office, began work on a sequel to the movie.  Sticking with the literature themed titled, Rocket Pictures is attempting to registered the trademark, SHERLOCK GNOMES.  Doyle’s estate opposes the registration stating that people may be confused to think that the gnome-filled sequel and the trademark are associated with the SHERLOCK HOLMES trademark, which they are not.
It is now up to Rocket Pictures. They can argue that the two marks are not similar or try to reach some kind of settlement / licensing agreement with Doyle’s estate.  The movie is still in development and no release date has been announced, so the parties will have some time to work it out.