According to the information reported by the US specialized website The Wrap, Lionsgate, focused on distributing films and TV content, and owner of the US premium TV network Starz and the SVOD OTT Starzplay, has filed this last Monday, June 7th trademark infringement lawsuits against The Walt Disney Company in the Argentine, Brazilian and Mexican markets. When Nextv News Latin America asked both companies on this issue, both Disney and Starz decided not to express themselves on it.
In the lawsuit, owners of the Starz brand argue that the name ‘Star+’, chosen by Disney to launch its new SVOD OTT in Latin America on August 31st, is similar to ‘Starzplay’, name under which Starz’s SVOD OTT is known, available in several Latin American countries since 2019. In addition, from Starz they report that the similarity between both brands may get users confused.
‘Disney’s decision to launch a standalone general entertainment streaming service under the name ‘Star+’ and rename its existing channels to ‘Star’ in Latin America — despite the prior existence of and trademark registrations for Starz’s own similarly named StarzPlay general entertainment streaming service — is extremely likely to cause customer confusion in the Latin American marketplace and infringes on Starz’s marks’, Starz said in the lawsuit. ‘Such customer confusion can be impossible to remedy and will likely only increase as Disney launches its marketing blitz in those regions’, the document adds.
In addition, as reported on The Wrap’s web version, in April, Starz had challenged Disney’s attempt to register the trademark for the term ‘Star’ in multiple territories.
On the other hand, as Disney reported when announcing the launch of Star+ in Latin America, the company plans to offer the platform both as a standalone OTT, as well as a combined offer with Disney+. In addition, last February, Disney rebranded Fox pay TV channels in Latin America, owned by the company since its merger with 21st Century Fox, as ‘Star’.