Netflix Slapped With ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Lawsuit For ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’

Written by on January 29, 2019

Maria Therese Agcopra Agcopra – Fourth Estate Contributor

Montpelier, VT, United States (4E) – Netflix is being hit by a lawsuit filed by Chooseco, LLC, the children’s book publisher that owns the trademark to “Choose Your Own Adventure” over the streaming giant’s movie, “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”.

In the complaint, which was filed in a federal court in Vermont on Friday, Chooseco claimed that they have owned the trademark since the 1980s and has sold over 265 copies of the “Choose Your Own Adventures” book series, The Hollywood Reporter wrote.

It further claimed that 20th Century Fox is the current holder of the options contract to develop an interactive series based on the books, and that Netflix has been in “extensive negotiations” to pursue the license since 2016.

Netflix was not granted a license to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” trademark. The complaint also stated that prior to the release of “Bandersnatch”, Chooseco sent Netflix a written cease and desist requesting the latter to “stop using the CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE mark in connection with its marketing efforts for another television program.”

The concept of “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” allows audience to choose how the plot progresses, and in discussions is being associated with the phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure”. Chooseco is accusing Netflix of unlawfully benefitting from associating its movie with the iconic brand without the necessary license.

Another point of contention that “Bandersnatch” does make reference to Chooseco’s books, is that one scene in the film where Stefan Butler, the main character, introduces a video game he’s planning to develop to his father. He explains that the concept of the video game is a based on a book. When his father comments that the book must be really good because he noticed how his son is always “flicking backwards and forwards”, Butler responds, “No, it’s a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.”

In its claim for infringement, dilution and unfair competition, Chooseco is demanding at least $25 million in damages or a portion of Netflix’s profits from “Bandersnatch”, whichever is higher.

Netflix has yet to respond to the filing.

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