22 December 2017Trademarks

Disney takes issue with Winnie the Pooh quote mark

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

This quote, attributed to the character Christopher Robin in Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh”, is now at the centre of a dispute between media company Disney and a China-based individual.

Christopher Robin said the phrase to Winnie the Pooh in the film “ Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin”, released in 1997.

Liu Hongming had filed the mark ‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think’ in January at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The mark, number 87,294,657, covers class 14 which includes jewellery, jewellery boxes and clocks.

Disney opposed the mark on the likelihood of confusion, adding that it had used and licensed its Pooh franchise, including the Pooh quote mark, in connection with a wide variety of products, including jewellery and clothing.

Examples of the quote being used on bracelets and thermal t-shirts were included in the opposition.

“Opposer’s consumer products bearing the Pooh quote mark are closely tied to opposer’s well-known and famous Pooh franchise, including using the character name and/or displaying images of opposer’s well-known and famous Winnie the Pooh character,” said the opposition.

Disney added that the applied-for mark is “identical in sound, appearance, connotation, and commercial impression” to its quote mark.

According to the media company, customers are accustomed to seeing its marks in use and on the register for class 14 goods, which increases the likelihood of confusion.

Disney owns the mark 4,731,694 for ‘Winnie the Pooh’ for jewellery, watches and clocks. It also listed the marks ‘Pooh’, ‘Piglet’, ‘Tigger’ and ‘Eeyore’, all of which cover jewellery.

The opposition was filed on December 13, and the trial dates were set by the TTAB on Tuesday, December 19.

A.A Milne was the author of “Winnie the Pooh”.

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