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Disney vs TRON Network: Trademark Disputes

It has been revealed that TRON: the blockchain network founded by the notorious Justin Sun both attempted and failed to trademark its name / brand in a variety of areas of which they failed due to conflicts and subsequent reprisal on behalf of Disney.

Sun responded defensively to reports on the matter primarily via a series of tweets (many of which are contradictory, when taken in combination), in which he calls all accusations regarding Disney’s successful action against what they have considered conflicting trademark registrations against its similarly named film franchise / property.

According to Justin Sun, this is all “mis-informed FUD”. This was his initial statement in his tweet thread: delivered shortly before acknowledging Disney’s successful shut-downs of several of TRON’s trademark applications in a roundabout way. Essentially, he admitted only that some of his company’s trademark applications “had not been challenged and are not affected by Disney”.

He followed this up by stating that “Those challenged by Disney belong to supplemental classes and were filed for defensive purposes [and does] not affect Tron’s core trademarks.”

You may be familiar with TRON Network from when it made the headlines earlier this year when the companies Founder and CEO Justin Sun notoriously cancelled on a dinner date with Wall Street legend and ‘Oracle of Omaha’ Warren Buffet.

Justin Sun (who recently came into possession of BitTorrent) had previously donated $4.6 million at a charity auction for the privilege, however he cancelled at the last minute for reasons that are highly debatable.

Whilst Sun officially stated that he was suffering from kidney stones, speculators believe the possibility of anything from last-minute nerves (after self-described “excessive self-promotion”), to claims that detained on behalf of the Chinese government for reasons that may have included the donation of funds to charities which are part-operated by the United States government.

Robert Stevens of Decrypt dug into the history of Disney’s trademark disputes with Justin Sun’s TRON Network and Raybo Technology (the company which registered the trademarks for TRON Network) in a lengthy report published on December 20. 2019.

Stevens refers to a total of three trademark applications made by Raybo Technology which had been rejected in total; including one on November 6, 2019 and one on August 6, 2019. All disputes as of yet have, unsurprising, 

The majority of Disney’s issues taken were due to branding similarities to the pre-existing TRON sci-fi media franchise owned by Disney – with Disney claiming not only the name use to breach copyright, but also its font usage, style and general typography. That it caused brand confusion.

When it comes to the law, Disney almost always seems to get its way. Mickey Mouse will be due for publication as a public domain property, however this is unlikely to happen if Disney gets its way – as it was one of the primary proponents of the Copyright Term Extension Act – which has already delayed this matter once.