Black Mirror Bandersnatch
[Screenshot via YouTube]

Netflix is seeking dismissal to being sued for trademark infringement surrounding the phrasing in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

In January, Choose Your Own Adventure book publisher Chooseco sued the service for using the phrase in the interactive film.

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The trademark has been owned by Chooseco, LLC since the ‘80s, when the books first became popular. It was one of the most popular children’s series in the ‘80s and ‘90s. There are more than 180 titles in the series and Chooseco sold more than 265 million copies of the books.

The company claims they negotiated with Netflix in 2016 about the phrase being used for the series. However, they say Netflix never got the license to use it.

“Netflix has no license or authorization to use Chooseco’s trademark and, upon information and belief, used the mark willfully and intentionally to capitalize on viewers’ nostalgia for the original book series,” the lawsuit states. “The film’s dark and, at times, disturbing content dilutes the goodwill for and positive associations with Chooseco’s mark and tarnishes its products.”

In the film, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) explained to his dad that the video game Bandersnatch is based on a book series which he described as “choose your own adventure.”

After the original suit, Chooseco filed an amended complaint. They added that they registered the use of the phrase in all forms of media, including movies. They also claim the game company depicted in the film, Tuckersoft, uses similar packaging to the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Now, Netflix has pushed back on claims by Chooseco, saying the phrase is “a reference to the book’s narrative device,” and is a “common — and accurate — phrase.”

They added that the claims that the game looks like the books “is even weaker than Chooseco’s original claims: because there is nothing distinctive about Chooseco’s borders and consumers do not associate them with Chooseco, they are not protectable trade dress, and, regardless, its borders are markedly different from those used on “Tuckersoft” videogames.”

You can read Netflix’s entire suit here.

Since Bandersnatch premiered in December, it’s been a huge success. Netflix is reportedly looking to create more interactive content due to the popularity of the film.

What do you think of Netflix’s claims? Sound off in the comments below!

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