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Disney sued over Pixar lamp 'copy'

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A Norwegian company that invented the inspiration for cinema's best-loved light fixture is suing The Walt Disney Company and animator Pixar for alleged trade mark infringement.

Luxo makes swivel table lamps that Pixar founder John Lasseter has said were the inspiration for his company's logo. A pair of Luxo lookalike lamps appeared in Pixar's first film in 1986, Luxo Jr.

Luxo has filed a US trade mark infringement suit over a replica lamp called the Luxo Jr that is being sold by Disney, now the owner of Pixar. It says that it was not consulted about this and is not being paid for the sale of the lamps.

Luxo said that it has a trade mark in the name Luxo and that Disney is infringing its trade marks by selling the lamp under its name without its permission.

"[Disney is] now advertising for sale and/or selling and distributing in the US and elsewhere a lamp product namely the 'Limited Edition Luxo Jr Lamp Collectible Pack' which comprises a DVD of a Disney/Pixar film and includes a small actual lamp bearing 'Luxo Jr' on its base, which lamp itself simulates the Luxo [lamp]," said Luxo's lawsuit, filed in New York.

The suit acknowledged the previous use to which Pixar had put lamps in the same shape as its own. "However, [Pixar's] logo made no express reference to the name 'Luxo', and heretofore, other than [Luxo's] lamps, there existed no actual lamps which used the Luxo trademark," the suit said.

The suit said that the sale of the lamps and the creation of a six-foot-tall animatronic version of 'Luxo Jr' at Disney World were happening "with no compensation to [Luxo] and without its consent".

Luxo said that the lamps being sold are of an inferior quality to its own and that the use of the Luxo trade mark would confuse consumers into thinking that Disney's lamp has been made by Luxo. It also said that the Disney lamps would, by their allegedly inferior quality, damage Luxo's reputation.

Luxo said that it wanted the court to give it control of all the materials created by Disney for it to destroy, to prevent any more being made and award it damages or Disney's profits from selling the material.

Amazon.com currently lists 'Up – Limited Edition Luxo Jr. Collectible Lamp Pack [Blu-ray]' for $120.99. The product image shows a small lamp in a box containing a disc of the film Up, saying that it will be available on 10 November. See: The item for sale on Amazon.com

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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