Actually, they and their lawyers have already been spending a good deal of time in front of Judge JANIS L. SAMMARTINO… defending themselves from a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit filed by DR. SEUSS ENTERPRISES (DSE) against them and publisher ComicMix in late 2016.
At issue was a “mash-up” project combining elements of Star Trek with the whimsical rhyming and artistic styles of the late Dr. Seuss into a book titled Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! In September of 2016, a Kickstarter for the project took in $30,000. However, DSE quickly asserted their intellectual property rights, and Kickstarter promptly shut down the campaign and froze the pledged donations. Then things went to court.
Earlier this year, the situation looked somewhat hopeful for “Team Mash-up,” as I like to call them. The judge in the lawsuit dismissed the trademark claim entirely (it would no longer be a part of the lawsuit), and she said that the fair use aspect of the remaining copyright infringement complaint was “evenly balanced” between the plaintiff and the defendants. And even better than that, if DSE couldn’t prove to the judge’s satisfaction that there were real financial damages at stake (at that point, she was simply giving them the benefit of the doubt), then this lawsuit might be dismissed entirely before it ever saw a jury, and fans would likely be reading a Star Trek/Dr. Seuss mash-up book by next Christmas.
What a difference six months make! This infringement lawsuit suddenly reminds me of a famous football game from 1993 between the Houston Oilers and the Buffalo Bills that has become known as “The Comeback.” Houston was leading by a massive score of 28-3 at halftime. But by the end of the game, Buffalo had won in overtime 41-38.
And while the “game” in this mash-up lawsuit isn’t over just yet, if you’re a fan of David Gerrold and Ty Templeton (as I am), it’s suddenly nail-biting time.
Here’s the latest…