Disney sues Phase 4 Films over DVD marketing

The Hollywood studio alleges the indie distributor replicated the logo and packaging for its Frozen release to boost home entertainment sales for The Legend of Sarila.
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Phase 4 Films has been slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit in California from Disney.

The Canadian indie distributor has been fingered by the major Hollywood studio for allegedly switching the name of the home entertainment release of the Inuit tale The Legend of Sarila to Frozen Land to get a halo effect from the Nov. 19, 2013 theatrical release of Frozen by Disney.

That infringement apparently extended to the logo and packaging of the Phase 4 release.

“As is apparent from the face of the Frozen Land logo, despite the infinite options available to it, Phase 4 intended its logo to replicate the Frozen trademark logo of Disney’s Frozen,” the 15-page lawsuit filed by Disney Enterprises in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California stated.

“For example, the Frozen Land logo also includes jagged, uneven edges on the lettering, dramatic flourishes on the letters, and an elongated R and Z that cradle a stylized O that curves into itself and does not close entirely. In addition, the word ‘frozen’ is significantly larger than the word ‘land.’ The two logos are nearly identical,” the legal action added.

The Legend of Sarila is produced by CarpeDiem Film & TV and 10th Avenue Productions, and portrays coming of age story about three young Inuit travelling in search of a promised land that will save their clan from starvation.

The Canadian stereoscopic 3D film features the voices of Christopher Plummer, Dustin Milligan, Rachelle Lefevre, Geneviève Bujold, Tim Rozon, Natar Unqalaq and singer Elispie Isaac.

Directed by 10th Avenue’s Nancy Florence Savard, the film is produced by Savard and CarpeDiem’s Marie-Claude Beauchamp, Normand Thauvette and Paul Risacher.

Disney claims Phase 4′s home entertainment play was encouraged by The Legend of Sarila otherwise launching on Nov. 1, 2013 to “minimal box office revenues and… no significant critical attention.”

The studio added the name change to Frozen Land was prompted by apparent expectations of a better DVD release for the picture.

“Phase 4′s conduct is unlawful,” Disney added, as it cited the Lanham Act, which bars entities from selling goods by confusing the origin of the trademark origin.

The studio is seeking an immediate court judgement to stop Phase 4 from marketing its home entertainment release on DVD, Blu-ray or digital downloads.

Disney also wants Phase 4 to destroy all DVDs and packaging around the Frozen Land release and pay legal costs and damages to the studio.

Executives at Phase 4 Films were not available for comment on the Disney lawsuit.