Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Chooseco sues Netflix for trademark violation

Choose Your Own Adventure books from Chooseco enjoy a wide audience in New Jersey and around the world. The publisher of the popular book series that printed over 620,000 books last year alone and licensed translation rights in 27 countries has filed a lawsuit against Netflix and wants $25 million in damages. The book publisher claims that the streaming video service's show "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" infringes upon Chooseco's trademarked phrase "choose your own adventure".

In "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch", the lead character is adapting a fictional book based on choosing adventures into a video game. The content of the show is dark, and the book publisher asserts in its lawsuit that many concerned people and parents have contacted it under the belief that it was involved in the Netflix production. The company believes that the disturbing content in the Netflix show has tarnished the reputation of its books for young people.

A news release from the publisher added that the unauthorized use of the phrase in association with graphic content has confused consumers. The infringement threatens book sales and limits licensing opportunities with potential partners. Netflix has not provided a statement about the lawsuit. Chooseco wants a jury trial.

A company confronted by the need to defend intellectual property might want insights about trademark law before taking legal action or responding to a lawsuit. An attorney could evaluate the client's claim to ownership of content and explain the legal standards that define infringement. To protect the client's interests, an attorney could organize evidence and communicate with the opposing party. This action might open negotiations to settle the issue or lead to litigation if the intervention of a court appears necessary.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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