Canadian electronic DJ Deadmau5 (real name Joel Zimmerman) is currently locked in a heated trade mark dispute with entertainment Goliath Disney.
Zimmerman performs his shows while wearing a cartoonish oversized mouse mask with even more cartoonish oversized rounded ears. This symbol, which has been dubbed "Mau5head", also appears on his range of clothing and accessories, including everything from cups to USB keys. Deadmau5 and his Mau5head are recognised and followed by millions world-wide. In June 2013, Zimmerman sought to cement his creation by applying for trade mark protection with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Disney, fearing that its own intellectual property was being infringed, swiftly followed up by filing a 171-page opposition to Zimmerman’s application, outlining how the Mau5head symbol is all too simillar to its own 90 year old icon Mickey Mouse, particularly when the two logos are viewed as silhouettes.
Zimmerman initially responded with a tweet, saying that Disney should "lawyer up". He then revealed details of an offer which Disney had made to him previously, outlining proposals for a collaboration between the two whereby Disney’s classic animated film ‘Fantasia’ would be re-imagined as a series of live concerts, characterised by a musical overhaul from Deadmau5. Confusingly, given Disney’s staunch opposition to Zimmerman’s trade mark application, the offer was accompanied by the classic image of Mickey Mouse in his red robe from Fantasia, except with a Mau5head in place of his own.
Whether Disney will continue to seek to oppose what it alleges is an infringement of its intellectual property rights or whether it believes it may be more beneficial to allow Deadmau5 to promote the entertainment giant’s brand to a 21st century audience remains to be seen.