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Disney Win In Trademark Battle Against Evel Knievel Upheld By Appeals Court

23 August, 2022


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A US Court of Appeals held that an earlier verdict that Toy Story 4 character named “Duke Caboom” was not copied from the character of Evel Knievel. 

The lawsuit filed by the late owner of intellectual property rights on Evel Knievel’s character stated otherwise. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the US held that the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects the rights owned by Disney. 

Disney was sued in the year 2020 by K&K Promotions Inc. The lawsuit was based on claims that Duke Caboom’s character, to which Keanu Reeves had lent his voice, was based on Knievel’s character. The lawsuit also alleged that both the film and relevant merchandise stood in contravention of K&K’s trademark rights. 

The case was dismissed by a Nevada Court stating that Disney using Knievel’s character did not stand in violation of intellectual property rights. The Court also held that Disney’s action in no way lead the viewers to believe that Disney was endorsing it. 

The hearing was carried out by a three-judge panel. The esteem Judges held that the film in no way violated trademark rights as it was clearly an artwork that did not sway viewers negatively. The Court felt that the cases were entirely different in the sense that one was a story about toys coming to life. 

The Court held that one was clearly not a literal depiction of the other.

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