On September 22, 2020, Evel Knievel’s son, Kelly Knievel, brought a federal infringement lawsuit against Disney and Pixar in the Nevada District Court, alleging that the filmmakers unlawfully based the Toy Story 4 character, Duke Caboom, on Evel Knievel.
Knievel’s corporation, K & K Promotions, Inc. (K&K), owns Evel Knievel’s likeness, image, rights to publicity, and associated trademarks and copyright. K&K claims that the filmmakers’ Duke Caboom character, used as a character in Toy Story 4 and for merchandising purposes, infringes K&K’s rights to publicity and trade dress rights. K&K also alleges that the character exploits the reputation and goodwill of its Evel Knievel intellectual property rights and causes confusion in the market, and deceives customers as to the affiliation, connection, or association between Evel Knievel and Duke Caboom.
K&K’s complaint also includes quotes from consumers and critics, such as the Toronto Star, which described the character as “…an Evel Knievel-type stuntman full of national pride and bravado…” K & K alleges to have suffered monetary damages and injury to its business, reputation, and goodwill, and is seeking over $300,000 in damages.
A spokesperson for Disney stated that the lawsuit is without merit and it will vigorously defend itself from the allegations.
Summary By: Imtiaz Karamat
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