Lakeland, FL asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Florida

Q: Is Mickey Mouse protected by copyright and trademark? How can it be protected by both types of intellectual property.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Mickey Mouse, as a character and brand, is indeed protected by both copyright and trademark laws. Copyright protects original works of authorship, such as movies, books, and artwork, including animated characters. Mickey Mouse, as a creation of Walt Disney, falls under this category, safeguarding the specific artistic depiction of the character.

Trademark law, on the other hand, protects symbols, names, and slogans used in commerce. The Mickey Mouse character is also a trademark because it is used to identify goods and services, like merchandise or theme park attractions, and signifies their source. This means that the image or representation of Mickey Mouse, used in commerce, is protected from being used by others without permission.

Having both copyright and trademark protection is beneficial as it offers a broader scope of protection. Copyright safeguards the artistic aspect, while trademark law protects against unauthorized use in business. This dual protection is essential for characters that are not only artistic creations but also significant commercial symbols.

If you're dealing with issues related to intellectual property, it's vital to understand these differences and how they apply to specific cases. In situations involving iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, the overlap of copyright and trademark laws helps ensure comprehensive protection.

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