Netflix is being sued by the company who owns the “Choose Your Own Adventure” trademark for the use of the phrase in the new Black Mirror film, “Bandersnatch.”
The interactive movie was released on December 28th, and it allows viewers to choose outcomes at different points in the film, influencing the story, its characters, and ultimately the outcome of the popular movie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chooseco, LLC, the childrens’ book publisher that owns the trademark to “Choose Your Own Adventure,” has filed legal papers in Vermont today.
The papers state that 20th Century Fox holds an options contract allowing them to develop an interactive series based on “Choose Your Own Adventure,” but in 2016, Netflix began actively pursuing a license from Chooseco.
“Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a license,” the complaint outlines. “On at least one occasion before the release of Bandersnatch, Chooseco sent a written cease and desist request to Netflix asking Netflix to stop using the CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE mark in connection with its marketing efforts for another television program.
Chooseco also cites a scene in particular where the protagonist Stefan tells his father that the book he aims to turn into a video game is “a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.”
Breaking: Netflix hit with trademark lawsuit over "Choose Your Own Adventure." The book publisher holding rights claims "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" confuses viewers with false association. https://t.co/yGCfhcdvhY
— Eriq Gardner (@eriqgardner) January 11, 2019
Allegedly, the publisher claims to have suffered harm to their reputation by association with Black Mirror, claiming infringement, dilution, and unfair competition. They are ultimately seeking at least $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profits, whichever is greater, in addition to injunctive relief.
Netflix has not yet publicly responded to the law suit.