Disney has 3 Weeks to "Free" Mickey Mouse

The summons and particulars of claim in the landmark Solomon Linda case were served on Disney Enterprises Inc in the United States of America on 13 July 2004, on Nu Metro Home Entertainment (Pty) Limited on 16 July 2004 and on David Gresham Entertainment Group (Pty) Limited and David Gresham Records (Pty) Limited, on 14 July 2004 in terms of an edictal citation order granted by the Court.

Disney Enterprises Inc now has until 12 August 2004 to give notice of its intention to defend the proceedings or not. Nu Metro Home Entertainment (Pty) Limited and David Gresham Entertainment Group (Pty) Limited/David Gresham Records (Pty) Limited must give notice of their intention to defend the proceedings on 30 July 2004 and 28 July 2004, respectively.

If any of the parties fail to give notice of their intention to defend the action by the respective due dates, judgment can be entered against such party by default. Once having given notice of their intention to defend the proceedings, the defendants are required to file formal answers with the Court within three weeks of giving such notice.

In the meantime, it was recorded in the South African Register of Trade Marks that the registered trade marks of Disney Enterprises Inc in South Africa are now attached in favour of the executor of the Linda estate as per the order granted late last month.

This attachment order in effect grants the executor a right over the registered trade marks which can, however, in the meantime be freely used by Disney Enterprises Inc or its licensees.

Should judgment be granted against Disney Enterprises Inc and any damages and cost awards that are granted are not paid, the executor will be entitled to sell the registered trade marks to realise the monies due to the estate. The heirs of Solomon Linda would finally benefit from Linda’s Zulu tune "Mbube" that forms the basis of the Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Dr Owen Dean

Spoor & Fisher

Date published: 2004/07/05
Author: Dr Owen Dean

Tags: disney mickey mouse summons trade marks