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Big names vie in trademark, copyright litigation

A California federal judge has now spent more than a year overseeing an intellectual property dispute involving big-time names in the entertainment industry.

One side of the ongoing spat features the estate of Theodor Geisel. Readers not readily noting that name are likely familiar with the pseudonym adopted by Geisel: Dr. Seuss.

On the other side of the litigation table is an entity called ComicMix. Dr. Seuss Enterprises has sued that company, along with various individuals, for allegedly infringing its copyright and trademark rights.

One of the targeted ComicMix defendants is David Gerrold, a Star Trek writer. He is centrally involved with an effort to create a comic book that combines themes and elements of Dr. Seuss works and Star Trek episodes, respectively.

In doing so, contends the Seuss estate, Gerrold and ComicMix have gone too far. The above-cited lawsuit, filed late last year, alleges that much of Seuss's copyrighted material was borrowed in excessively liberal fashion.

Moreover, points out Seuss Enterprises, the title of the comic -- "Oh! The Places You'll Go" -- is identical to the Seuss work that influences it and used the exact same font as that used by Seuss.

The judge gave the defendants some time to file an amended complaint in response to the Seuss challenge.

She was not impressed upon reading it.

In fact, she allowed all of the estate's claims to go forward.

Perhaps would-be readers will one day be able to enjoy the so-called "mashup" amalgam of Star Trek and Dr. Seuss works.

If they do so, though, it is likely that the end product will vary materially from how it looks today.

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