Disney’s Fight with an Oil & Gas Company That Likes the "Pixar” Name
There was an interesting, and slightly amusing, story in the 12/02/11 Wall Street Journal titled “Walt Disney Stakes Claim After Oil Firm Adopts Famous Name.”
Apparently there’s a Canadian oil & gas company that is very enamored with Hollywood studios; so much so, that they’re naming business units after them. The “Paramount Resources Ltd.” Company wants to create a subsidiary called “Pixar Petroleum Corp.” that would go along with other subsidiaries it has: “Fox Drilling Inc.” and “Summit Resources Inc.” (“Summit” is the studio behind the “Twilight” films.)
It appears the other studios either didn’t know about the names, or don’t feel they’re worth the time, effort, and expense to investigate and pursue. But that’s not true for Disney: they intend to take the “appropriate legal action” to stop the name change.
What becomes more interesting is apparently when dealing with trademark claims; it appears that you can use a trademark owned by somebody else if the use of it is in a totally different, non-related area where there would be no chance of confusion. So, the thinking of the oil & gas company is “Pixar Animation” that delivers cartoon feature films will never be confused with “Pixar Petroleum Corp” that looks for petroleum deposits in Canada.
And since it’s Hollywood: let’s throw in a twist of irony. For those who saw “Cars 2,” you may recall that the whole plot of the movie is a race between cars running on oil based gasoline versus cars running on alternative fuels. So, having Pixar’s name on an oil company, to them, may be similar to that dentist whose last name is “Pain.”
Just another interesting chapter from Hollywood. So, when you hear Disney say Pixar has something in the “pipeline:” it could actually be oil.