If you take a walk around Walt Disney World Resort,, it won’t take long for you to notice merchandise that Guests have either bought or made that isn’t sold in Disney stores.
From Mouse Ears to customized T-shirts and much more, there is plenty of merchandise that uses Disney’s likeness that doesn’t actually compensate the company when purchased.
Inside the Magic recently reported on a lawsuit that has come forward against a Florida-based couple who continued to sell discounted Disney products, including Mouse Ears, after Disney ordered a cease and desist.
When Disney sent the cease and desist, the company said they would be stopping. However, they only made slight changes to their business and continued to sell hundreds of pairs of customizable ears. After Disney’s letter, the couple moved their business to a secret Facebook group, but this was later found out by Disney and a lawsuit was filed.
A law expert recently shared that Disney is one of the biggest companies that consistently send out cease and desist letters to protect their intellectual properties. In this case, however, a letter wasn’t enough.
“Once you establish that you have property rights, it’s up to you to police your property rights, if you want to protect them,” Darryl Wilson, the associate dean for faculty and strategic initiatives at Stetson University’s Law School, said in a Florida Politics report. “Those at the high end of establishing a lot of intellectual property rights, they protect them vigorously. Disney World has gone after nursery schools and kindergartens who decided to use their characters without permission. They will go after everyone … Bigger companies, they take it quite seriously, and you can expect them to act on it — and Disney is one of the biggest. Usually, cease and desist letters are enough, but apparently it wasn’t enough here.”
While the lawsuit has been filed, it’s not expected that Disney will win a significant amount of money. Through social media posts that have been submitted to the court, we can see that the Kissimmee couple made hundreds– if not thousands– of sales, but Wilson also shared that it’s clear the couple “didn’t make millions” from this business.
A representative from Disney did not wish to comment on the litigation.
Inside the Magic will keep you updated on this lawsuit as it moves forward.