Friday, December 21, 2012

Winnie Still in Disney's Corner

The courts rule ... and rule again.

... . Disney Enterprises today had its trademark ownership rights to Winnie-the-Pooh reconfirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeal. In a 2-1 ruling (read it here), the Federal Circuit said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeals board was correct to dismiss a challenge to Disney’s rights from publisher Stephen Slesinger Inc. “Accordingly, the Board correctly applied collateral estoppel to prevent Slesinger from asserting a claim that its 1983 grant of rights to Disney was a license as opposed to an assignment,” said judges Randall Ray Radar and Kathleen O’Malley of the Appeals Court in their majority opinion Friday. ...

What I find most amazing about this isn't that Disney prevailed in the case -- The Mouse has very deep pockets, after all -- but that Milne's work is still under copyright a gazillion years after he created it.

The other amazing wrinkle is that Milne's Winnie the Pooh franchise is the thing Mr. M. is known for, even though he wrote popular plays, novels and verses in his day. Ninety-plus years later, almost all of them are forgotten.


Chris Sobieniak said...

It is a shame how history is written by the 'winners' in these cases.

Steve Hulett said...

History is almost always written by the winners.

The losers sit around saying "Shut up and deal."

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