A new trademark was filed that makes Disney feel a little too Dirty. Disney has moved to oppose the HERPIE THE LUV BUG trademark for an upcoming video game.After reading about this new trademark battle, I really feel like a need a shot. A video game developer filed an intent to use trademark for an upcoming game called HERPIE THE LUV BUG. Since that time, the game has been released and prominently displays the HERPIE THE LUV BUG mark alongside a design of a Volkswagen Bug.
“Herbie the Love Bug” originally made his appearance in the 1968 Disney movie “The Love Bug” which tells the story of a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. The movie spawned several sequels, a television series, and a reboot starring the immortal, Lindsey Lohan. Disney has even distributed its own video games featuring Herbie.
Disney has opposed the issuances of the registration claiming that there is a strong likelihood that people, when they download and play the game, would assume that the game is affiliated with, sponsored, or endorsed by Disney when it is not. One important thing to remember is that parody and fair use are defenses to claims of trademark infringement but are not justification to have a mark registered. Therefore, since the marks are so similar and the game appears to be playing off the success of the Love Bug, I would anticipate that Disney will succeed in its opposition.
Other thing to look out for, since the trademark is in use, the game developer could be sued for trademark infringement. The opposition was filed on September 27th and the game is still available for download under the same name. The dev better be careful or Disney may hit the start button on a lawsuit as well.