Deadmau5 v. Disney: Bring out the popcorn

April 4, 2014

deadmau5Canadian DJ Deadmau5 always wears a cartoonish mouse mask when he performs. With its balloon-ish proportions, somewhat garish smile and hatched-over eyes, it’s very distinctive. When I look at it, I think of clubs and raves or whatever the kids are going to these days. I don’t think of palatable, profitable children’s entertainment.

I guess Disney does, though. It is evidently fussed over a trademark application that Deadmau5 filed for his “mau5head” logo.

Apparently, Disney feels like the spooky mouse image (which a pre-fame Deadmau5 – government name: Joel Zimmerman – came up with after finding a dead mouse inside his computer) looks too much like Mickey Mouse, whose signature rounded ears are one of the company’s most widely used symbols; some people call Disney “The House of Mouse,” and nothing says “I went to Disneyland” like those mouse-ear headbands.

Disney has 90 days to investigate Deadmau5’s application for a trademark and, if it chooses, file a motion of opposition, according to Rolling Stone. The argument would presumably be that consumers are confused and might think Deadmau5 and Disney are in some way affiliated, which they are not.

Disney has a pretty tough reputation for being very aggressive in protecting its intellectual property assets. Personally, I find it hard to see how someone could confuse the two marks, but my track record at predicting how these kinds of things come out is spotty, to put it kindly. I’ll be interested to see how this turns out. Deadmau5 has picked fights with Madonna and Skrillex, so I really doubt this will go down easy with him.

Postscript: My favorite Deadmau5 tracks are “Faxing Berlin”and “Ghosts ‘N Stuff