Netflix got themselves in some hot water with the publishers of a children's book over their new interactive film. The franchise was extremely popular during the 1980s, growing to 184 books with more than 250 million copies printed.
"The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco", said Shannon Gilligan, widow of Choose Your Own Adventure creator R.A. Montgomery, in a statement. According to the suit, it's not that Netflix didn't realize the phrase "choose your own adventure" was a trademark; it's that it wasn't able to secure a license from the company and used the phrase anyway. Although Netflix reached out to license the trademark, a deal was never made.
The publisher is now demanding a USA district court in Vermont force Netflix to pay at least $25 million in damages over the trademark infringement. In this episode, the protagonist, a young programmer named Stefan, works to create a computer game inspired by an interactive novel he read. The movies' "dark and, at times, disturbing content" also tarnishes the Choose Your Own Adventure brand, the suit alleges.
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Black Mirror creators may have wanted viewers to choose their own adventure on Bandersnatch, but they ended up somewhere unexpected-in a lawsuit with the owners of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" trademark.
The thing is, "Choose Your Own Adventure" is a format and phrase owned by Chooseco LLC, the publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. Twentieth Century Fox now holds a license to make a film based on the Choose Your Own Adventure books.
"Bandersnatch" lets viewers "choose their own adventure", but Netflix is being sued for use of that terminology.
Netflix has no comment on the matter.