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Trademarks / Designs

A Mickey Mouse not quite free!


Mickey in the cartoon "Steamboat Willie"

From 1 January 2024, the original version of Mickey from the famous 1928 cartoon "Steamboat Willie" is no longer protected by copyright.

Mickey should have fallen into the public domain in 1984. The term of copyright protection, which was 56 years at the time, was extended to 75 years (Copyright Act) and then to 95 years (Copyright Term Extension Act), under pressure from the Disney Corporation.

However, Mickey remains protected under trademark law. For example, the historic Steamboat character has appeared on the official Walt Disney Animation Studios logo since 2007 (USPTO Trademark No. 97285747).

In addition, later versions of the mouse, such as "Mickey Fantasia" and "Mickey, once upon a Christmas” remain copyrighted until 2036 and 2095 respectively.

Disney therefore still has the legal resources, particularly in the field of trademark law and even parasitism, to defend not only its famous mouse, but also the extended universe around it.

This situation highlights the complexities and nuances of intellectual property law. A case to be followed...

We will be happy to provide further information and assistance in this regard.

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