From the “What in the world took so long” department, today brings us some legal ruminations via one successful trance music prodigy named Deadmau5. To his parents, the rodent-monikered dance hall wunderkind is Joel Zimmerman of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. To the rest of us, he wears a mouse head and two digitally enhanced ears.
For more than a decade, this has been Zimmerman’s shtick — he shows up in concert, never to be seen sans mouse head, and plays his curly tail off. Oh sure, there is a stark similarity between his outfit and that of another notable mouse, but nothing has been said. Not once, until now.
The company, in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said that deadmau5’s logo “is nearly identical in appearance, connotation and overall commercial impression to Disney’s Mouse Ears Marks.” Disney noted that “both parties marks are comprised of a round head with prominent round mouse ears in silhouette,” and that the trademark designation was likely to cause confusion and dilution of its own marks.
The oddity of it all is Deadmau5 already has patents in Euro countries in which his brand of dance music is even more of a thing. In fact, some reports say he holds up to 20 different patents — but Mickey Mouse turned America into his personal fire hydrant long ago.
Disney says that it has owned the rights to those ears since 1928, so there. To wit:
Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician / performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are.
— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) September 3, 2014
So, whose ears do you side with?