The ongoing legal fight between Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, and Disney came to a head this week with news that Disney has filed a petition blocking the EDM DJ’s trademark application in the United States. Now, in a strange twist, Zimmerman is firing back with a cease and desist, alleging that Disney is using his music without permission.
In April, Disney began investigating deadmau5’s mouse logo to see whether it infringed the company’s own Mickey Mouse character. With the DJ’s trademark application having recently reached its final stages, Disney has now filed a 171-page opposition to the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Zimmerman responded to the news by advising Disney to “laywer up,” writing on Twitter: “Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician / performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are.”
Dina LaPolt, a lawyer for Zimmerman, further argued the DJ’s case in an interview with Rolling Stone:
“The deadmau5 front facing mau5head is a registered trademark in 30 countries worldwide. In June of last year, deadmau5 applied to register the front facing mau5head with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Disney is now opposing the U.S. filing. Given that the mau5head and other identifying deadmau5 trademarks have been used in the U.S. and around the world for almost a decade, we wonder why Disney is only now coming after deadmau5. Our client will not be bullied by Disney and is prepared to fight to protect his rights to his property.”
On Thursday, Zimmerman went one step further by issuing Disney with a copyright claim of its own. As it turns out, Disney had been using the DJ’s song “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” in a video featuring Mickey. Zimmerman said he never gave Disney permission and has sent the company a cease and desist.
The video has since been removed. (Update: You can still watch it here!) Disney has not responded to requests for comment. If the ongoing trademark fight involving the Washington Redskins is any indication, the Disney-deadmau5 brouhaha will likely prove to be a multi-year battle that makes its way up several ladders of court.