Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ lands Netflix in trademark lawsuit

‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ lands Netflix in trademark lawsuit

The publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure books is suing Netflix over Bandersnatch.

The thing is, "Choose Your Own Adventure" is a format and phrase owned by Chooseco LLC, the publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series.

"The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco", the complaint states.

Netflix has found itself in hot water over the first-ever interactive Black Mirror film, Bandersnatch.

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The book publisher behind the popular series of Choose Your Own Adventure books for kids has slapped Netflix with a $25 million lawsuit, claiming the Bandersnatch movie and its marketing infringes on the publisher's arguably very well known trademark brand. When Dad asserts that the book must not be very good, as Stefan is always "flicking backwards and forwards" through it, Stefan explains, "No, it's a choose your own adventure book".

Chooseco, according to the suit, said it has sold more than 265 million copies of books where the reader's decisions influence the narrative's plot and outcome. The suit claims infringement, dilution and unfair competition and Chooseco is seeking at least $25m in damages or profits, whichever is higher. "Association with this grim content tarnishes Chooseco's famous trademark". 20th Century Fox is now in talks with the publisher to develop an interactive series based on the property, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This claim is essentially saying that the writers knew of the popularity of the books, so they used the trademark in the dialogue to help explain it to audiences, as well as the film's characters.

According to Chooseco's complaint, Netflix did try to get permission, engaging in "extensive negotiations", but in the end never got a license.

Mashable has reached out to Netflix for further comment.

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