Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.
In the latest move in a long struggle with Walt Disney Co. over the rights to A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, Stephen Slesinger Inc. petitioned the U.S. Patent Office to cancel Disney’s trademark registrations over the 80-year-old bear and his friends.
Disney moved immediately to block Slesinger’s petition, saying in its quarterly report filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the petition duplicated Slesinger’s requests in an ongoing lawsuit between the two companies.
That does sound like an odd procedural choice by the Slesinger group, but then again there is so much at stake (they’re claiming billions with a “b” and an “s” at the end) — and they’re losing so badly — and Pooh logic can be so very silly, for all its profundity — that perhaps anything is worth a try. Still:
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you sometimes find that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
Speaking of “try,” and speaking of other people looking at it, court action in this silly old case is scheduled for the spring, so expect another Hundred Acre Wood to be felled for filings to come. Not surprising; considering the issues with the long words and all —
“What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?” said Pooh. “For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.”
“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
Or a good piece of fabulously expensive, nearly pointless billion-dollar licensing litigation!
UPDATE: There’s been a lot of water under Poohsticks Bridge since that post first went up — and they’re still at it, God bless ’em! Just a couple of weeks ago, on November 11th, it was this:
The company founded by the man who made Winnie the Pooh internationally famous filed a notice of appeal to get unpaid royalties for the use of the beloved children’s characters.
Attorneys for Stephen Slesinger Inc. filed papers in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Nov. 5 to notify the court that it is appealing to collect past royalties from Walt Disney Co. and redress for “past improper business practices.”
Disney spokeswoman Michelle Bergman said claims by the late Stephen Slesinger’s family were dismissed in federal court in September, when a judge ruled Disney has the license to the Pooh characters.
What do you say, one more quote from the Master, regarding the hopelessly nonthreatening Slesinger legal efforts at this point?:
“Isn’t that fine?” shouted Winnie the Pooh down to you.
“What do I look like?”
“You look like a bear holding on to a balloon,” you said.
“Not,” said Pooh anxiously, “not like a small black cloud in a blue sky?”
“Not very much.”