One major California movie studio is being hit with a lawsuit over its upcoming film. Fox is releasing "Alita: Battle Angel," a major science-fiction production directed by Robert Rodriquez, in February 2019. However, Epic Stone Group filed suit on Jan. 30, claiming that it owns the trademark to the phrase "Battle Angel." The Florida company is accusing 20th Century Fox of trademark infringement and unfair competition. It says that it has been selling "Battle Angel" merchandise for over 10 years.
Epic Stone Group says that it trademarked the phrase in 2008 for goods like computer games, action figures and toys. In addition, the company said that it filed a new application in April 2018 to protect items including ebooks, downloadable movies and TV shows about space battles, DVDs, mobile phone ringtones and computer graphics. Therefore, the company claims that Fox's movie adaptation of the manga film "Battle Angel Alita" is creating confusion among customers and harming its brand as a result. The company also said that Fox was aware of the company's trademark and deliberately intended to lead customers to falsely believe that it was involved in the production of the film.
The lawsuit is seeking damages from the movie studio, including all profits related to the "Battle Angel" film and trademark. Fox has already released merchandise promoting the film. Epic Stone Group is also demanding that Fox take these products off the market and stop selling or promoting any "Battle Angel" merchandise. When questioned by journalists, Fox declined to comment on the pending case.
Trademarks can be an important form of protection for unique products, services and brands, especially in a market where branding is key to identity and name recognition. Businesses may help protect their interests by working with an intellectual property attorney to register their marks and take action in case of infringement.
Source: Hollywood reporter, "Fox's 'Alita: Battle Angel' Hit With Trademark Lawsuit", Ashley Cullins, 01/30/2019