Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — Netflix is in trouble over its use of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” premise for its new movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a complaint was filed against Netflix in Vermont Friday by Chooseco, LLC, the children’s book publisher that owns the trademark to “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
Chooseco has been using the trademark since the 1980s and claims Netflix actively pursued a license to use the phrase but never got one. The company says it even issued a cease and desist to Netflix, asking the streaming giant to stop using the phrase in connection with its marketing efforts for the movie.
Bandersnatch, about a young video game designer in the 1980s who’s teetering on the brink of madness, allows the viewer to choose the direction of the plot and play out multiple endings. It’s been widely described in the press as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” episode and the phrase is even used in the episode itself.
The main character, Stefan Butler, uses it to describe Bandersnatch, the book that inspired his video game of the same name. When his father says the author must be good because Stefan is always “flicking backwards and forwards,” he responds, “No, it’s a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.”
Chooseco alleges Netflix is benefiting from its association with its brand and that Chooseco’s reputation has suffered through its connection to the very dark Black Mirror series. The company is demanding at least $25 million in damages or profits, whichever is greater.
Netflix has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
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