Deadmau5, Disney Settle Dispute Over "Mouse Head" Logo


Deadmau5 took over Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a 90-minute set on Aug. 31.

Time to cancel those surveys asking whether anyone would confuse the logo of Deadmau5 with the head of Mickey Mouse. Deadmau5 — aka EDM star Joel Zimmerman — has come to an agreement with Disney over his registration of a caricature of a mouse head with black ears, black face, white eyes and white mouth.

Last September, Disney said in opposition papers filed at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that the Deadmau5 design was "nearly identical in appearance, connotation and overall commercial impression to Disney’s Mouse Ears Marks" and would "cause confusion" among consumers.

This caused Zimmerman's own ears to flip out.

The music star had done business with Disney or its subsidiaries before. He had licensed "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" for a video game, was approached to re-imagine Fantasia and was in talks to remix the Star Wars theme before the dispute erupted. Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse") and the House of Mickey had coexisted for a while, but not anymore?

Well, the mice have managed to figure a way out of the maze.

"Disney and Deadmau5 have amicably resolved their dispute,” said an attorney for Zimmerman.

The terms of the settlement aren't immediately clear, but they will likely be detailed in papers to the Trademark Office soon, including a withdrawal of Disney's opposition and any possible amended trademark registrations. The dispute at the Trademark Office didn't get far, though the Appeal Board did in April reject one of Deadmau5's defenses that Disney couldn't be harmed from the registration.

The settlement also comes as Zimmerman pulled back from threats made against the producer of Deadmouse: the Musical, described as a tale of “a mouse who wants to be a house DJ but is discriminated against for being a mouse.” The show was happening at a Toronto theater festival, and Zimmerman asserted his trademarks, but after the producers added a disclaimer that the show was a parody, Zimmerman said it was time to move on. One mouse learning from another.