Saturday, September 5, 2009

Luxo sues Pixar for trademark infringement

Lampmaker Luxo ASA, creators of the original Luxo desk lamp, unexpectedly filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company and Pixar in U.S. federal court* on Friday, ending some twenty-three years of amicable relations between the two companies.

The lawsuit stems from Luxo's discontent at the soon-to-be-released Luxo Jr. Premium Combo Pack of the Up Blu-ray, which will include a working replica Luxo Jr. lamp and also the giant audio-animatronic Luxo Jr. at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

Pixar's c. 1986 agreement with the Norway-based lamp manufacturer has long allowed the studio to use the Luxo name in connection with the character from Pixar's first short film Luxo Jr. and to use the character in its logo. But Luxo holds that the making of actual goods, especially functioning lamps, with the name is an infringement on their trademark not covered by the agreement.

While Luxo's statement in their complaint that the Luxo Jr. replicas will "cause devastating damage to Luxo and dilute the goodwill which Luxo has built up" is utter nonsense, someone at Disney's legal department really should have checked with the company as to whether they had any objection to the expanded uses for the character.

Interested to see how this will play out in court...

(via Bloomberg)

*For the legally inclined, the case is officially Luxo AS v. The Walt Disney Company et al, 09-cv-7689, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

28 comments:

Movie Music Enthusiast said...

I feel that Disney should have checked with Luxo ASA before making a real working lamp that is basically a copy of their lamp with 'younger' proportions. Instead, (and this would have been way cooler anyway), could they not have asked Luxo ASA to make the lamps for the box? Real Luxos?

I think sometimes there is a really strong feeling - especially when dealing with a huge company like Disney - to make sure that they respect prior agreements pertaining to what is yours. Just because they are a big American company, doesn't mean that they can do whatever they please without asking.

I too am interested to see how this plays out. Disney may have made a serious mistake here, and I would hate for it to make Luxo ASA feel that they should toughen up their previous agreements too...

I shall follow this closely, and find out more before I take either side. I do hope that the relationship does stay such that the lamp can continue to be used in their logo, and the short film shown.

Mark said...

I assumed that Luxo was the one making those working lamps. Why wouldn't they be?

Kyle said...

Mark, because its cheap plastic. Maybe thats why their upset in the first place. Maybe that line about deluting their good name might not be as bs as it seems. I mean, would Luxo stoop as low as to cut costs by making a lamp that should be metal out of cheap looking plastic instead? people might buy this lamp and decide to avoid Luxo products in the future. I think this lamp would have been much better if Luxo themselves made it.

It probably is rubish though, I mean the luxo short is how old now? And their just now throwing a fit over it?

Leirin said...

Oh, come on people, golly! I swear, Americans. They'll sue ya faster than you can say "I've been sued." I can't believe this! Ludicrous.

jerseycajun said...

I'd agree that the lamp in the set certainly skirts the limits of acceptability according to their arrangement.

The audio animatronic lamp couldn't possibly be confused with a marketable lamp, however. There is no damage done to their trademark by that incarnation.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of miseries they are. This is like what happened when Paul Simon wrote Kodachrome, and Kodak sued him when it became a hit, not realizing that they were getting all that free advertising from a talented artist. Same with Luxo jr. Obviously Lasseter should have changed the table lamp in his experimental short so that it wasn't a recognized trademark, and just called it lamp jr or something, but now it's become the symbol of a multi billion dollar company. A company who's product everyone loves. Why wouldn't Luxo want to be associated with something so positive? If you see a Luxo lamp on a shelf, next to an Acme lamp, you're going to choose the Luxo because of that positive association.
Armond Hammer bough Arm & Hammer because everyone thought it was already his company and he just got tired of explaining it. Pixar should buy Luxo just to shut them up. Bunch of miseries.

Obscura Metaphoria said...

im amazed that im actually in support of pixar getting sued!

they really should have checked, making working lamps is crossing a line. its the same as if Luxo suddenly decided to take the Luxo jr character and make their own series of animated shorts! im sure disneys legal department would jump on them like wild dogs.

at least they may learn their lesson before they start making real working cars that talk to each other.

Doug Bowker said...

Mark- great point. What a huge gaffe for Disney and Pixar and an equally huge missed opportunity. Why not have the REAL company make the lamps,w ho presumably could make them better, if not cheaper than a third party?

Movie Music Enthusiast said...

Leirin said...
"Oh, come on people, golly! I swear, Americans. They'll sue ya faster than you can say "I've been sued." I can't believe this! Ludicrous."

If you are referring to my statement, I in no way meant it that way. I just meant that Luxo ASA may be feeling that Disney - a company in a big super-power country, with a ton of money themselves - may be feeling that they can do whatever they want.

This has nothing to do with America in general... it has to do with Disney. Technically, if Disney was say, Canadian for example, with the exact same status that it has now, I would have probably have said a 'big Canadian company' instead.

Sorry for not being clearer.

Anonymous said...

This is Disney's, not Pixar's fault. Only Disney that would waste their time and money to build a six-foot animatronic Luxo lamp that jumps up and down. Since when did Pixar have anything to do with disney's Hollywood Studios theme park?

Jordan said...

Responding to what Obscura Metaphoria said, what if someday they did make cars like that? I can think of a few ways it could be scientifically feasible.

And regarding the Luxo lawsuit, I think Disney/Pixar should pay Luxo a "small" fee and have Luxo make the Luxo, Jr. lamps for the Blu-Ray package.

Tom Dougherty said...

This is all on Pix/Dis, I'm afraid.

I'm sure that the lamp people weren't thrilled with the animatronic Luxo recently installed in- was it Disneyland? Disneyworld? Anyway, this is a clear, clear violation of their original agreement.

Additionally, why would anyone buy that pricey box to get an ugly lamp you could buy at any yard sale for a buck? Not one of the better Pixar premiums, to be sure.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I have to agree that this is the fault of Disney and Pixar not consulting their original agreement with Luxo.

I'm hoping it can be an easy fix between the two companies. I'm sure disney will have to incorporate Luxo lamps into their parks somehow and share the profits with luxo for the items they will sell.

But we'll see..

It's a shame this was looked over and has now come to this.

Steinar said...

Heck! A book was written, "Rubber-Tarzan". It has nothing to do with Tarzan what so ever. This book was written before Disney acquired the rights for Tarzan. A Norwegian theater group wanted to put on a play based on this book, but then Disney said "nope! that is OUR trademark! Don't you dare!"

But to create a desk lamp called "Luxo", modeled after the Norwegian desk lamp Luxo, THAT is ok??? This is just crap, Disney has to loose!

Geir said...

This is a clear breach of agreement. So no wonder Luxo sues. And the fact that Disney went ahead an got another company to make it is just arrogant.

Luckily for Disney, Luxo is an Norwegian company, and we don't have the same tradition for ridiculous claims, so it will probably be a moderate demand.

And just about anybody here can guess what kind of an anal raping Disney would perform if the roles were reversed, so they deserve anything coming for them.

Geir said...

oBTW, here is a picture of the infringing lamp:
http://gfx.dagbladet.no/labrador/799/799334/7993344/jpg/active/320x.jpg

vs. the original:
http://gfx.dagbladet.no/labrador/799/799336/7993360/jpg/active/320x.jpg

Anonymous said...

I actually built my own LUXO Jr. Lamp http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattoons/3849279692/ because I had gotten tired of waiting so long for a real Pixar Lamp to go on sale. But I do understand the complaint by the Luxo Company, especially since the Amazon Lamps are so expensive. Either lower the price, or rename it "Pixar's Lamp".

Gobbers said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Movie Music Enthusiast. Why can't Disney and LUXO strike a deal where LUXO produces real working Luxo Jr. Lamps? That would be so much better than that costly plastic version on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

lol. pixar got sued. i never thought I'd live to see this day

Anonymous said...

There's a debate happening over at Pixar Planet: http://www.pixarplanet.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5472.

PixarFanatic said...

Need I say it?

BOOOOOOOOOO!!

I have to agree with Anonymous #5 there... I'd never thought I'd live to see this horrible day.

It WILL be interesting to see how this plays out...

Does anyone know what will happen if the sueing-people win?

Movie Music Enthusiast said...

Actually, it is Disney being sued technically, not Pixar, and if Luxo ASA wins, then hopefully they will be able to still go back to their previous agreement.

It is the physical product that caused the problem here. The animated version of the lamp was agreed upon years ago.

sallright said...

Not excusing Disney/Pixar on this one, but…

The lamps in Luxo Jr. are based off of the Luxo L1 series of lamps. If you look at it, you’ll see the very apparent similarities, but also some difference. A real Luxo L1 has a very round hood, always has. The Pixar “Luxo” has a flared hood, perhaps to give the lamp more character. A real Luxo L1 has a bracket that allow you to attach the lamp to the end of a flat surface, like a desk or table, Luxo sells attachable bases for the L1’s, but they look different than the bases in the short. Lastly, Luxo doesn’t make a lamp the size of Luxo Jr.

The gift pack Luxo Jr. has a “bulb” that cannot be removed, and it’s made of plastic, it’s essentially a toy (a pretty expensive one to boot). It’s not really a functioning lamp, rather a toy based off the Luxo Jr. character from the animated short that used Luxo’s L1 series lamp as inspiration. The Pixar contract with Luxo was for use of the name, that’s it, the issue of likeness of the product never came into play.

I honestly feel Disney/Pixar should make good on this, however, they’re making a toy with the name of a lamp that they have the right to use the name of, and that kinda looks like the lamp it’s named after.

william wray said...

there just want a big settlement.

Brendan said...

If luxo can make this...
http://www.luxo.com/designicon/

I'm not sure why the Imagineers can't make a dancing Luxo Jr. If they would have called it "the Pixar task light" they probably would have been ok, since Luxo doesn't actually make a lamp exactly like Luxo Jr.

Anonymous said...

The second comment by "Mark" is the exact reason why Luxo should sue Disney. The fact that Mark assumed Luxo actually manufactured the lamp, only to receive a cheap quality plastic replica luxo in the limited edition box set would tarnish the trademark of Luxo. Luxo's intellectual property attorneys' are going to use blog comments just like Mark's comment to support their trademark infringement claim. Thanks to Mark, Luxo will likely win... seriously. Now Disney's going to get enjoined and we'll never get our limited editions... unless the same Disney attorneys who failed to check on this issue also forget to stop shipments of the limited edition boxes. Let's hope they're the same attorneys.:)

Anonymous said...

http://www.insubuy.com/forum/member.php?u=125026
[b]CIALIS KAUFEN EUR 1.10 pro pille >>> Jetzt Kaufen! <<< KAUFEN REZEPTFREI CIALIS CIALIS Germany[/b]
[b]CIALIS KAUFEN REZEPTFREI CIALIS KAUF FREE CIALIS[/b]
http://www.ewheatgrass.com/wheatgrassjuice/members/cialiskaufen.html
Tadalafil, angeboten unter dem Namen Cialis, ist eine neue Gruppe von Medikationen, welche adaquate sexuelle Stimulation erlaubt, die Blutgefa?e des Penis entspannt und der Erektion hilft. Die empfohlene Dosis von Tadalafil betragt 20mg.
Cialis ist das einzige Medikament, welches nicht nur schnell wirkt (wirkt in 30 Minuten) sondern auch bis zu 36 Stunden effektiv bleibt, das Ihnen ermoglicht den richtigen Moment fur Sie und ihren Partner zu wahlen. Sie konnen Cialis am Morgen einnehmen und Sie sind bereit fur den richtigen Moment wahrend des Tages, Abends oder auch wahrend des nachsten Tages. Millionen Manner wurden von der effektiven Wirkung in Milde und von der gema?igten oder harten erektile Dysfunktion von Cialis uberzeugt.
[url=http://www.freshwap.net/forums/members/cialiskaufen.html]CIALIS KAUFEN[/url] - CIALIS KAUF OHNE REZEPT
[b]CIALIS KAUFEN KAUFEN Preiswerter CIALIS CIALIS Apotheke[/b]
[url=http://www.uhaveaudio.com/forums/member.php?u=185]CIALIS KAUFEN[/url] - CIALIS BESTELLEN
[b]CIALIS KAUFEN REZEPTFREI CIALIS KAUF CIALIS Suisse[/b]
[url=http://www.forexindo.com/forum/members/cialiskaufen.html]KAUFEN REZEPTFREI CIALIS[/url] - CIALIS Rezeptfrei
[b]CIALIS KAUFEN BESTELLEN CIALIS im Internet CIALIS online kaufen[/b]

Anonymous said...

ibew reimbursement fund 613 dental [url=http://usadrugstoretoday.com/products/keftab.htm]keftab[/url] interrupted me constantly transcription medical http://usadrugstoretoday.com/products/imodium.htm best protection against depression http://usadrugstoretoday.com/products/cephalexin.htm
how to raise low blood pressure [url=http://usadrugstoretoday.com/products/levitra.htm]levitra[/url] auburn regional medical center [url=http://usadrugstoretoday.com/products/tetracycline.htm]a resource for health impact assessment pdf[/url]