back to article Disney sued over Pixar lamp 'copy'

A Norwegian company that invented the inspiration for cinema's best-loved light fixture is suing The Walt Disney Company and animator Pixar for alleged trade mark infringement. Luxo makes swivel table lamps that Pixar founder John Lasseter has said were the inspiration for his company's logo. A pair of Luxo lookalike lamps …

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Greedy

I hope Disney get their arses kicked. The only way they seem able to make any money these days is to buy something successful - like Marvel Comics, for example - and milk it dry.

Walt must be spinning in his grave.

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live by the sword

Considering that Disney is such an inflexible and absoute defender of it's own copyrights and IP, I really hope they get taken for every penny in this case.

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Just settle

C'mon Disney, don't be dicks about this one, you know you'd go straight for the jugular the other way around. (I swear that mouse has no soul)

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Should be a no-brainer

Open and shut case? Clearly Disney is using their brand name on a copy of an existing product.

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yup...

...looks like a pretty straight forward rip off to me...

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actually

Fair enough on this

At least they arn't trying to rip them off for just animating their design etc etc

Fair case hope disney lose

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Lights out

At first I thought this was just another IP trolling story, but it looks like a pretty clear slam dunk case. You could argue that the logo itself as used in the films is a bit of free advertising for Luxo, but selling lamps with the actual NAME is blatant IP theft in all senses of the phrase. Naughty Disney.

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Interesting

Micros~1 v i4i

Sony Mexico vs whovere that singer is

And now Disney... all of this couldn't be happening to nicer people :)

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Give As Good As They Get?

Luxo should just make a lamp called the Disney(r) Jnr and see how well that goes down at Disney HQ.

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Coat

@Bilgepipe

Spinning in his freezer cabinet, surely?

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FAIL

Remarkable Unanimity

I don't think I've ever seen such unanimity in the comments to a Register story.

Disney FAIL. Luxo, rightly, did nothing about Pixar's (& later Disney's) use of an image of their lamp. But manufacturing an actual imitation lamp called "Luxo, Jr." is a straight-forward violation of Luxo's trademarks.

Disney should settle, quickly and generously. Luxo are entirely in the right on this one.

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Anonymous Coward

Bomb Disneyland!

(No, silly, that's not an incitement to violence, it's a reference to a famous IP-law case involving the mouse. The band gave in and had to change their name to "Bomb Everything". I can't help but wonder if "Bomb Everything, and naturally 'Everything' includes Disneyland" would have been alright...)

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Coat

Long brown non animated coat

Mines the one with the Luxo bulbs in the pocket.

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Agree as well.

Initially thinking that it was probably trolling, but seems fair enough. They had no problem while is was virtual. Behind Luxo on this one.

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Troll

Whiny Norwegians

Stupid whiny Norwegians. First it was Opera, now it's some crappy little lamp maker.

Who do this "Luxo" company think they are, to tell Disney what they can and can't sell?

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Pirate

Could do better...

(assuming applicable timescales can accomodate, don't know how old that design is...maybe too old and/or US Design Patent would have already expired)

If only they'd filed a US Design Patent and/or it still applied, they'd have been able to add that one as well, for good measure.

I wonder if they've still got a Community Design Right and a UK Design Right running on this, for infringing versions in UK/EU Disney shops. Oh well, there's always passing-off I suppose.

Clear cut cases like this, one should always be throrough and make sure everything and the kitchen sink is throwable...

Pirates @ Disney :evil twisted smiley:

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Happy

Disney lawsuit news just in....

Clyde Tombaugh is suing Disney for the use of his IP 'Pluto' claiming that naming a cartoon dog after the same name could confuse his patrons, "the inferior quality of the cartoon dog may be confused with astrological bodies discovered in the early 20th century, leading to the degradation of the integrity of my discovery"

Clyde has yet to recieve any loyalties for profits generated by "unabashed and brasen theft of his potential business expansion"

Aristole had his oar in, but later discovered he had left his glasses at home.

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Anonymous Coward

Total Unanimity

Surely infringement cases don't get more "open and shut" than this?

Company B is making a counterfeit version of Company A's trademarked product. End of.

The fact that Company B is the rabidly litigious Disney makes it all the more delicious.

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Anonymous Coward

@Bilgepipe

Both spinning and burning one would hope. He was NOT a nice man.

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Could we bankrupt Disney(r) by

buy lots of these? Would this force Disney(r) have to pay Luxo a larger settlement?

Just a thought.

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Heart

@ Robin

Agree... but call it a Minnie... and paint it black with a white-on-red, pok-a-dot base.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_HgPZTxiZsSI/SoKlQSRgurI/AAAAAAAABeA/ad2iuah3J88/s1600-h/minnie+mouse+1.jpg

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Re: Remarkable Unanimity

"I don't think I've ever seen such unanimity in the comments to a Register story."

Them's fighting words, ... but ... , no I can't bring myself to disagree. Damn!

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Go

I agree too.

Go Luxo, sue them good and proper.

Although it's interesting that Luxo didn't sue Pixar for animating their lamp and selliung that, but rather waited until Disney made a lamp based off the animation. Third derivative patent infringement?

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RE: Remarkable Unanimity

I think it must be a reflection of the open and shut nature of the case -- even us IP-sceptic commentards can see what Disney is doing is wrong.

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Gotta agree

Disney should simply say "my bad" and settle without any fuss.

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I dunno

I remember seeing the Luxo Jnr short at school, which ain't yesterday.

Disney must feel that they have a very good case for the name to be deemed to be associated with Pixar rather than Luxo (who?).

IANAL, but is it not the case that the trademarked lamp has been in the public domain for some years (decades)? and given that the patent-holder has not hitherto objected, I would say that Disney are probably going to win it.

Rather like a right of way at the foot of your garden that people have used for years. Technically, it's still your property (I think), but you can't put a gate across it.

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Walt was a crook

"Walt must be spinning in his grave."

Hardly. The man was a bastard who stabbed his best friend in the back in order to steal his share of the animation company the two of them set up together.

"You stay here and work on our next short, Ub; I'll go register the company."

"Sure thing, Walt, old Pal."

"Oh, dear. It seems I've accidently registered the company in my name alone."

"Jez, Walt, old buddy, that's a bit of a blunder. I guess we'd better head downtown and get it fixed."

"Get back to work, slacker."

Burn in hell, Disney.

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@Give As Good As They Get?

Surely Luxo should just make a novelty lamp in the shape of Mickey Mouse.

I'm sure Disney Corp would be fine with that...!

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Had they any brain...

...they would have paid Luxo to make the promotional mini-lamp. At $120, I guess they could afford it too!

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Coat

lamp?

...So, Disney /AREN'T/ selling webservers, then?

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@Bilgepipe

Walt spinning in his grave? I think not.

Whatever you think of his creative output, his business ethics??....business:yes - ethics:no

Abuse your employees, market other peoples ideas as your own, whatever.

It was all grist for Uncle Walt's mill.

I think his reation would be "that's my boys. Lawyers, make me proud"

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Maybe....

The only way I can see disney being semi-in the right for this case, is if when Pixar started using the lamp they negotiated some kind of deal with luxo that luxo foolishly left at risk to a wider interpretation.

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Pirate

Ve haff vays...

Disney was once a member of the NAZI party.

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WTF?

Copyright mafia owngoal

Typical of the copyright mafia, copyright only applies to the stuff they sell... More importantly, how did this get past Dizzney's own lawyers, where they too busy suing unmarried mothers and unemployed people to do their job properly.

Is it any wonder people have no respect for anything the MAFIAA say and consider all copyrighted material fair game, Micro$hit ripping off i4i, Morrissey calling on people not to buy the Smiths re-issues because he is not getting any royalties for them (cough-cough, pot, kettle etc.), and now Dizzney ripping off a lamp manufacturer. It seems with the big players is a case of don’t do as I do, do as I say.

Quick where’s my “Dizzney is destroying the lamp manufacturing industry” logo tee-shirt

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I woder...

If the two products are made in same factory.

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Anonymous Coward

Netbook!

I don't see how this is any different to PSION's claim to the name "Netbook".

Come on PSION, set em in your sights.

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Stop

Don't settle!

Luxo should stand firm and not settle out of court. Disney will only get 'taught a lesson' if they have to have their day in court.

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Ah Disney...

I despise most large corps, but Disney really get up my nose because they are a huge corp, but pretend to be this family friendly, little cottage animation house, bringing joy to all the kiddies everywhere! No, your a huge, faceless corp, knocking out second-rate mind-pap for the dumbed-down masses to consume by the trough load!

This will come to nothing, what's a $500M payoff compared to the amount they will rake in worldwide during the next 24 hours!

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Pirate

Once again for the IP-illitera... -sceptics:

Copyright - applies to anything in your head which you express (and only if you express it, and protection is only for that expression, not the idea behind it)

Trademark - applies to a mark used in the course of trade, to indicate the origin of the goods/services to which it is applied

Design - applies to the appearance/features/ornamentation of a tangible product (including 2D GUI, e.g.)

Patent - applies to the idea behind the expression (re. copyright above) *if* technical (and new, not obvious, etc, etc.)

Assuming from earlier comments that the Luxo lamp is decades old, it doesn't appear any patent or registered/unregistered designs can be enforced (in respect of what the lamp *looks like*), nor can copyright be enforced (not an infringement to make 3D things out of 2D copyright-protected plans/drawings, and/or once more than 50 identical widgets are made - at least in the UK, that's the case).

That leaves trademarks, i.e. the brand 'Luxo', which last forever (provided they are regularly renewed, if registered). Disney is marking its product 'Luxo Jr', which includes at least the trademark 'Luxo'. The fact that it is affixed to substantially similar articles is what makes this pretty much the proverbial slam-dunk.

(of course, there's always the possibility of an obscure get-out clause in any earlier Pixar-Luxo deal which permits this, as rightly pointed out by Gordon 10 above).

Still... arr!

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They will probably just slap on a "LAXO" sticker

I have an Anglepoise lamp style lamp from Ikea on my desk, it must be only about the Luxo name.

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Wow

I really thought this article would be over the lamp used in the movies, and was ready to make fun of it.

But, no, it really couldn't get much clearer that Luxo is in the right. What if I started to produce shoddy animated movies under the name Disney, Jr?

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Paris Hilton

stick it to them

Stick it to them good.

She knows how it goes.

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Pirate

Sick'em

Sickem good

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Grenade

Commentards UNITE!!!

Oh wait, we've already had some dissension here :)

/HG for the fact that this is what Disney is holding right now

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Megaphone

@ Stef 1: Thank you for making that clear

For those interested, the trademark in question has serial number 73449167 at the US PTO and the type of goods it applies to is "Electric Lighting Fixtures and Electric Lamps Mounted on Fixed Brackets, Movable Bases and Stands, Including Electric Lamps Supported Spring-Arm Assemblies and Components Thereof." (First used in 1972, trademark granted in 1985 and renewed in 2005). Since it only applies to lamps, they could hardly use it to stop Pixar from making a movie, while they can stop any lamps from being sold under the Luxo name.

Seriously, how did Disney not do a simple search at the PTO before launching the product?

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Grenade

Disney, the Scumbags

IIRC, wasn't Disney the company behind Sonny Bono's Copyright extension bill????

Corporate lawyers speaking to Bono: "Can't let Mickey and Minnie go into the public domain, now can we?"

Meanwhile they are thinking: "Got to milk this one as long as we can get away with it!"

If I am correct on this matter, then it only becomes a case of

-----> What goes around, comes around.

I hope Luxo cleans their corporate clocks.

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Happy

@ Dave Coventry

"IANAL, but is it not the case that the trademarked lamp has been in the public domain for some years (decades)? and given that the patent-holder has not hitherto objected, I would say that Disney are probably going to win it."

Nah, it is pretty straighforward.

Luxo had no problem with the disney using the generic lamp "image".

They now DO have a problem with them selling "Luxo"-branded lamps that aren't actually Luxo lamps.

It really is an open and shut case. It won't make it to the courts....

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Jobs Halo

In defense of Disney

I simply can't believe that the company that brought us Mary Poppins and the Little Mermaid would do anything even remotely unethical ... I think these ungrateful Norwegians should stop picking on Disney and the lot of you should be ashamed for be a bunch of nasty bullies.

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Herbie

Did Disney ever produce Herbie toys? they're basically a VW Beetle. VW could have sued?

Of course the difference is the Herbie toy wasn't a drivable car.

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@ Giles Jones: It's not the design, it's the name

So not on trademark grounds, no.

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