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Bad IdeasBusiness

Disney Files Trademark Lawsuit Over “Frozen Land”

Phase 4 Films, the esteemed Canadian film distributor of animated classics such as Kiara the Brave and Life’s a Jungle: Africa’s Most Wanted, has found itself in legal hot water over its latest masterpiece, Frozen Land. On December 20, Disney filed a lawsuit against Phase 4 alleging trademark infringement and false advertising. Read the full complaint here.

Frozen Land is, in fact, the French-Canadian animated film The Legend of Sarila, that was released earlier in 2013. After being picked up for distribution by Phase 4, its name, logo, and branding was suddenly switched to Frozen Land, allegedly to capitalize on Disney’s latest hit Frozen (and perhaps trick parents into buying the DVD). Considering that the actual content of the film had nothing to do with Frozen, Phase 4 could have saved itself a lot of headache had it not borrowed wholesale the Frozen name and visual design of the Disney film logo.

Disney has asked the courts for an injunction to stop Phase 4 from using its nearly indentical Frozen Land logo. Further, they want Phase 4 to destroy all the Frozen Land DVDs and pay compensatory and actual damages, and attorney’s fees.

(Story via Hollywood Reporter)

  • Sarahlouise

    Looks like it began life as a Legend of Korra rip off….

    • Scott550

      Hardly. As iff that cartoon isn’t an amalgam/ripoff of a thousand other things. And a lemming.

  • Chris Bennett

    Open and shut case methinks.

  • James Fox

    The film that was dubbed as “Frozen Land” has nothing to do with Disney’s “Frozen”, Disney should compare and contrast the films beyond the trademark

    • kelseigh

      Why? They’re not claiming that the film is ripped off, only the logo which it what the suit is about.

      It’s interesting to note that the original poster and the one on the animator’s website doesn’t feature the female character prominently at all, whereas the version that takes the female-led Frozen’s logo suddenly does.

  • SarahJesness

    Pretty interesting. I don’t often hear about large studios going after the small ones that make mockbusters and/or imitation movie covers. Considering all the studio has done in the past, I’m wondering why Disney has decided to do something only now.

    • LrsDude

      I think that a lot of Disney properties have been in the public domain until now, Snow White, Aladdin, Pinocchio, all centuries old. But branding their movie Frozen (as opposed to The Ice Queen) gives them a defensible position in this case.

    • William DeMarco

      ‘American Battleships’ and ‘Age of the Hobbits’ come to mind..

  • LrsDude

    They went way too obvious with the logo, brought it on themselves. Should have probably run it by the legal department first.

  • Tres Swygert

    Yeah – they really created a hole for them by ripping off the logo from the original Disney film. I can’t understand why they couldn’t think of another title, let alone a different logo look to sell their already obvious mock off product. But hey, they’re in hot water right now, not just legally, but artistically.

  • George Comerci

    Yeah, the title rip-off is pretty inexcusable…

  • thesnazziness

    My sympathies aren’t especially strong with Disney – what with the Alice in Wonderland graphic controversy not that long ago – and I don’t like that the work of the artists and creators could be potentially invalidated with the destruction of all the DVD’s. However, the trademark infringement on Phase 4’s part is so blatant and force that it’s a little insulting. For instance, can we talk about how awkward of a title “Frozen Land” is anyway?

    • Caitlin Cadieux

      Yeah, Disney is obviously in the right here, but it does bring to mind the flagrant copying of someone’s student film to make that ‘Olaf and Moose fight over the carrot nose’ teaser before Frozen came out. Of course, it only takes one person to cobble someone else’s film or graphic and slap it onto company merchandise. Still disappointing but Phase4 doesn’t really have a leg to stand on here regardless.

  • Zekey

    Every couple of weeks me and my friend go through Walmart’s “family” movie section and grab an animated flick to laugh at. We always grab the cheapest shittiest ones. Or the ones that are clearly ripping off big studio movies with their titles (or in the case of Frozen Land or Kiara the Brave, their changed titles).

    And 99.9% of the time its Phase4.
    This company is a blight and I always wondered how long until they provoked a larger company into action. Now all I need is popcorn.

  • Rodan Thompson

    Good one for the Disney machine! Get that piece of trash out of there!
    I just saw the “FROZEN LAND” DVD for sale at Walmart…and thought the
    very same thing… Who did they thin they were fooling? I
    mean….you can’t pull a thing like that over on “DISNEY LAND”

    • Funkybat

      Eh, I once got a “Little Mermaid” VHS for Xmas from a well-meaning family friend. Back then (late 80s-early 90s) they didn’t even try to make the box art mimic the actual film, thy just used the same title (since the story is public domain) and hoped for unsavvy relatives to do what she did and pick it up.

      These days, people seem to rely more than ever of visual cues, and the fakers can get away with making the cover art similar in style and typeface to the actual marketing of the major feature. I think there is some kind of intellectual property infringement legalese (implied affiliation or some such) that makes even look-alikes that do not use the same words in the title liable for infringement, but it tends to be harder to convince a judge to find in favor of the aggrieved party. Something like this, however, it pretty over-the-top and I don’t blame Disney’s lawyers one bit for going after them for this. I do find the demand to have all copies physically destroyed to be a bit over-the-top and un-green, but what do I know, I’m not a lawyer!

    • Cathy

      Will Disney EVER apologize to Oskar Fischinger’s remaining family for ripping Fischinger’s idea COMPLETELY OFF for the first Fantasia? And compensate them, of course, too…

    • William DeMarco

      I don’t care what you say, I haven’t seen this knockoff, but it was probably better than the thing it was knocking off. I HATED Frozen.

  • Toonio

    Good luck trying to enforce whatever thing they are thinking in Canada. Look up for business in Canada that misuse Marvel, DC comics and others trademarks. Its a lost case from the get go.

  • Strong Enough

    Christopher Plummer? Really? wow.

  • mike b

    Here a link to the trailer, sine the other is dead.

  • megadrivesonic

    Well looks like my ice queen movie is going to harder to make then I thought since Disney can sue for a logo but then again this studio is infamous for their knock offs. Despite this, the movie itself looks decent in comparison to their other bombs.

  • Cheese

    What about Wizart Animation’s “The Snow Queen?”

    • Kyle

      That would be a copyright issue rather than a trademark issue. Copyright = ownership of the underlying creative work. Trademark = something that identifies a good to consumers. It’s less about ownership, more about whether appropriating a name or logo causes consumer confusion or, in certain cases, dilution of a famous mark. Clearly, the “Frozen Land” title and logo could cause consumer confusion… I believe it was on Netflix Instant for a few days and almost fooled me for a second. Addressing your question: because the original Snow Queen fairy tale is in the public domain, only original elements from the Disney’s take on the material would be protected under copyright. There would be other factors at play too, but that’s the simple answer.

  • Thomas Paul Jennings

    AT LAST… One of these cheap mockbuster film companies has been struck back! Thanks Disney lawyers!

    • Varg2000

      Agree on this! I’m very thankful!

  • gorillamydreamz

    The film is an original production based partially n Inuit legends. It’s actually quite good and was success in Quebec and elsewhere. The distribution company has done a disservice to the film and to the many people who busted their butts to make it by market it this way. The ony DVD’s that may have to be destroyed are the ones with the fake title and branding. This movie deserves better treatment.

  • Varg2000

    I understand your complaints, but I’d say this might also have to do with making justice to the latest masterpiece Disney produced, and not to confuse people and fool them into buying something that might not be what they expected.

    People who work with film of course needs to respect other films and the creators of the films, and come up with something on their own (or admit if they were inspired by or based it on something else), and not copy someone elses work, whereas many of Disney’s films (especially those you brought up) are actually either (admitted) inspired by or based upon a certain story or work, there’s nothing wrong with that, but to just copy something right off and not change it enough and make it perfectly clear where you copied it from and not admit that you’ve copied it is not okay.

    By the way, Kimba and The Lion King may have some similarity between each other, or in some scenes, and films tend to have similarities with each other, but the differences between these two specific films are actually rather great. And The Lion King is obviously the film to prefer, they made a greater film, and I thank them for it. Everyone makes mistakes, especially in the beginning, but I think Disney might probably have learned that by now.

  • Varg2000

    Honestly, I hate mockbusters and pure rip-offs of great movies. I would just love to see these mockbuster companies shut down and die out. They’re practically a disgrace and insult to the art of film. The Asylum (now called Take1) for example, their movies are horrible! I say, if you’re gonna make a film, make it great, make it mean something. I hate mockbusters for the reason they’re merely bad films with no feeling or soul and with the sole purpose of wheel in cash that they havent deserved. And now, to see a mockbuster company take on the greatest film and Disney-film of all time (you heard me), Disney’s masterpiece “Frozen”, that’s just… They’ve really crossed the line. I’m with Disney-here, and I hope this will truly be a lesson for the horrible mockbuster-companies. There’s just no respect here. It’s sad.

  • Varg2000

    No, I havent.

  • Marc Estrada

    how can they do something so obvious? they probably paid Disney more money for trademark infringement than they made from this movie

  • SuperMuppet

    The makers of this film are recently re-releasing the Frozen Land film with the same boxart, but different title.