The publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books is suing Netflix for a cool $25 million, claiming that the recent film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch infringes on its trademark.
Bandersnatch, which debuted last month, is a technically-ambitious feat, allowing viewers to direct the main character’s actions and decisions and choose the path that his story will ultimately take.
While the concept of freedom of choice can’t be trademarked, Vermont-based Chooseco LLC, which has published the book series since the ’70s, claims Netflix infringed in a number of specific ways.
In a lawsuit lodged on Friday, Chooseco claims that the streaming service previously approached them seeking to license the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark, but they were unable to finalise a deal.
The suit also refers to a moment in Bandersnatch in which the main character explicitly says that he plans to make a video game based upon the Choose Your Own Adventure book he’s reading.
Additionally, Chooseco claims that the violent and disturbing nature of the film, including references to drug use and mutilation, tarnishes the brand and is inappropriate for its young audience.
Shannon Gilligan, who leads the company after the death of original publisher R.A. Montgomery, made a statement on Friday, accusing Netflix of causing serious damage to their business. She said:
“The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco. The use of Choose Your Own Adventure in association with such graphic content is likely to cause significant damage, impacting our book sales and affecting our ability to work with licensing partners in the future. We would prefer not to resort to litigation, but given the damage that we will suffer as a result of the use of our mark we’ve been left with no other option.”
She also reiterated that Bandersnatch has nothing to do with the books, which were recently licensed by 20th Century Fox to develop an interactive film series.
Netflix has yet to make a public statement on the lawsuit.Source: Variety