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   Licensing a Disney Character
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   Author  Topic: Licensing a Disney Character  (Read 7801 times)
e3
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Licensing a Disney Character
« on: Jun 26th, 2006, 5:12pm »
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First off, great site. Tons of great feedback and information!
 
Ok, so without divulging all the info, I have a question regarding licensing a Disney product, or any other cartoon for that matter.
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Let's define two things:  
 
Object A already exists and is in mass production and sold everywhere. Let's call it a unique pencil made by one company.
 
Object B does not exist and would attach to Object A (the pencil) making it more fun and exciting.
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Object B could take any shape or form, and I had the idea of instead of creating my own character, why not contact Disney or Warner Brothers and sell the idea to them of putting their character(s) onto Object A which they have never done before.
 
In this case, would I just need to approach them with this idea (laywer at my side of course) and not worry about patents? Obviously I couldn't patent an existing cartoon character, but I'm guessing that I might be able to patent the part of how Object B would attach to Object A.
 
All parts here would be made of simple molded plastic so cost to produce probably would not exceed 2c per unit overseas.
 
I have a prototype already. And I've also checked out thoroughly the disney corporate site that lists all of the requirements for licensing their products. And what a list it is!  
 
Thanks for any guidance or help that is provided.
 
e3
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JSonnabend
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Re: Licensing a Disney Character
« Reply #1 on: Jun 27th, 2006, 6:26am »
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What's the question?
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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e3
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Re: Licensing a Disney Character
« Reply #2 on: Jun 27th, 2006, 10:34am »
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Oops. Thanks for pointing that out. Wink
 
My question is basically what to do next. I have a prototype already.  
 
Should I fund a patent research on the part of how Object B attaches to Object A? Or should I come up with my own character (instead of using an existing character) and then put them into production and mass market myself? I know that sales would be through the roof because it's one of those super simple ideas that you might say 'hey why didn't i think of that'.  
 
But, I'm not sure what my options are because it seems more of an idea and less of an 'invention' per say. But I can say that I am 99% positive that this has never been done before. What to do? My biggest fear is of course getting the idea stolen, and my second biggest is wasting loads of money on lawyers because I'm unaware of the steps I should take.  
 
Thanks for any help you might be able to provide for free Cheesy
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CriterionD
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Re: Licensing a Disney Character
« Reply #3 on: Jun 27th, 2006, 12:23pm »
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on Jun 26th, 2006, 5:12pm, e3 wrote:
but I'm guessing that I might be able to patent the part of how Object B would attach to Object A.

 
hypothetically, you could.  While I obviously don't know what your exact invention is, here are some examples of similar patents, linked for exemplary purposes:
 
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5207174.pdf
 
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5158384.pdf
 
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2248145.pdf
 
Quote:
my second biggest is wasting loads of money on lawyers because I'm unaware of the steps I should take

 
With a good attorney you won't waste money.  Well I guess you certainly could, but I would say that the right attorney would ensure that you are accurately informed enough about your options so that you would be at least able to make an educated decision on your own, before spending "loads" of money towards a patent or what not.
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JSonnabend
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Re: Licensing a Disney Character
« Reply #4 on: Jun 28th, 2006, 7:22am »
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Quote:
Should I fund a patent research on the part of how Object B attaches to Object A? Or should I come up with my own character (instead of using an existing character) and then put them into production and mass market myself?

The two options you present in the quoted language above are not alternatives -- they address different issues.  A patent would protect the novel, non-obvious elements of your idea, preventing others from doing the same.  It would give you no affirmative rights to actually use your idea, however.
 
Utilizing your own characters would eliminate the need to license others' copyrighted charactors and/or trademarks, but it would not stop others from incorporating your invention into their own products.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
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