Minnie Mouse in a polkadot dress pointing

Disney wins lawsuit against online clothing shop Disgear for copyright infringement

By James Wan

Disney filed a lawsuit against an online clothing shop, Disgear, for copyright infringement in December 2019 and was seeking damages and permanent injunctive relief.

Disney took action against Eric Wichhart, owner of Mouseprint Media and disgeardesigns.com. A visit to the Disgear website following the filing of the lawsuit resulted in the following message:

“Thanks for visiting us. At this time we are currently working with Disney Enterprises, Inc. Lucasfilm Ltd. and Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. LLC to resolve a matter. Please check back in the future”.

Later in March 2020, Disney’s civil federal lawsuit against Mouseprint Media, an online retailer based in Winter Garden that sold shirts with images of characters from “Star Wars” and “Frozen”, to Mickey Mouse, was successful.

The court order issued by U.S District Judge Roy B Dalton Jr did not mention any dollar settlements but outlined several steps that the Disgear store must take for it to shut down its business permanently; including surrendering its merchandise and website into Disney’s control as well as ceasing selling or distributing products related to them altogether. As per the ruling, continued infringement would cause irreparable harm and injury towards Disney which is renowned for protecting its intellectual property rigorously at all costs.

Attorney Ronald Sikes, who represents Mouseprint Media owner Eric Wichhart, did not respond to a request for comment and Disney also declined to release an official statement.

Established in 2014 according to sunbiz.org - the state’s online corporate site. Mouseprint Media is better known by its trade name DisGear which sold T-Shirts with images featuring Cinderella Castle or Darth Vader among others.

Within twenty days of signing their order, Disgear agreed that all unsold merchandise would be destroyed as deemed necessary by Disney while giving them control over all websites associated with their business; these sites were inaccessible as of Tuesday whilst they have abandoned any applications made at the United States Patent and Trademark Office pertaining specifically towards a logo containing Mickey Mouse ears along with ‘Home’ being inscribed above a picture depicting Magic Kingdom castle; moreover, no further attempts will be made regarding this application nor any other similar ones in future endeavours either Disney Enterprises and LucasFilm filed a lawsuit against Mouseprint Media in December, alleging the public could be misled into believing Disney was connected to them.

This confusion among the public is heightened by their reproduction of photographs from Walt Disney World Resort rides and attractions as well as advertising ‘P-L-U-T-O’ (the last five digits of its phone number) on marketing materials.

Before taking legal action, Disney had attempted, unsuccessfully, to contact the store directly for it to stop selling merchandise using copyrighted material. However, this civil lawsuit has now been dismissed with both parties responsible for covering attorney fees incurred during proceedings.