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In a two year-long battle with Disney, Marvel, and Lucas Film, Characters for Hire recently filed a motion for summary judgment asking the district court to find in its favor. The internet based entertainment-for-hire company was sued by Disney back in 2016 for allegedly infringing its iconic character trademarks. More specifically, Disney claims Characters for Hire is a “knock-off business…built upon the infringement of Disney’s highly valuable intellectual property rights.” The party entertainment company uses characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca in its appearances at themed events. Characters for Hire particularly disclaims any authorization by Disney of its promotion and sale of its characters. Rather, the company claims a reference to characters such as Frozen’s Elsa is “merely descriptive” of the services the consumer receives, that is, an actor hired to dress and behave like a famous animated character. Interestingly, back in 2003, Disney utilized a similar argument when it was sued by Caterpillar for using its distinct logo on construction equipment in “George of the Jungle 2.” Indeed, Disney contended its use was not intended to create a likelihood of confusion that the construction equipment company either endorsed or sponsored the film. Trademark tarnishment occurs when an infringing mark portrays the protected trademark in a negative way or is placed upon low quality goods. Disney argues Characters for Hire is thereby tricking the public into believing its characters are authorized by Disney and will be Disney-quality. Thus, tarnishment of a trademark threatens to diminish the commercial value of the mark as consumers associate the inferior quality of the infringer’s products with the trademark owner’s unrelated goods. #omnilegalgroup #trademark #Disney #Marvel #LucasFilm