Disney Sued over “Lotso” the Bear Character in ‘Toy Story 3’

Four years after the release of the movie ‘Toy Story 3’, Disney Enterprises, who produced the film, was sued for alleged trademark and patent infringement at the Texas Federal Court by the owner, Diece-Lisa Industries who objects to the “Lots-O’-Huggin'” a character in the movie, which is a stuffed bear.  This character — aka “Lotso” — has psychological problems as a result of being abandoned by his owner. He now resides at the Sunnyside Day Care Center, and he and his gang attempt to stop Woody and other toys from escaping from the day care center.

Diece-Lisa Industries, the plaintiff, which is based in New Jersey had created the “Lots of Hugs” stuffed toy bears and had licensed it in 1995.  This toy was also used as Panda Bear for the promotion of the 2008 Beijing, Olympics as well.

In addition to the trademarks, DLI also has a registered patent. The complaint also claims that, Disney in fact, all along, knew about DLI’s intellectual property as it had licensed its “hugging technology” to a company associated with Disney.  In the new lawsuit, DLI says that “Disney has aggressively enforced its various intellectual property rights” and points to past legal action taken jointly by Disney and DC Comics to protect Toy Story and Toy Story 2 movie characters. In other words, the plaintiff implies that Disney respects the rights of Batman’s owner.

DLI now claims that it is having problems from the film because the company’s affiliate entered into a license agreement with Interactive Group (IG) for a bear product in 2011 and IG was fearful to use the ‘Lots of Hugs’ mark for the DLI licensed bear products fearing Disney and consumer confusion with Disney’s ‘Lots-O’-Huggin” bear alias ‘Lotso’ bear character in ‘Toy Story 3’.  Subsequently, IG required that the licensed bear be marked ‘hugalots’ instead of ‘Lots of Hugs.’

DLI is considering this to be unfair competition and trademark infringement and are now demanding profits attribution and an injunction on future use of the “Lotso” character.

There was no comment from the side of Disney regarding this matter.

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