Chooseco, a Vermont-based publishing company, which has made its name from publishing a series of interactive books called “Choose Your Own Adventure”, has filed a suit in a federal district court against Netflix this Friday.
Chooseco, according to the suit, said it has sold more than 265 million copies of books where the reader’s decisions influence the narrative’s plot and outcome.
Chooseco says Netflix has infringed on its trademark with its interactive episode of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. In this episode, the protagonist, a young programmer named Stefan, works to create a computer game inspired by an interactive novel he read. When asked about the book, the protagonist says it is “a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.”
The publisher said it has registered the use of the phrase in movies, books and other forms of media. Twentieth Century Fox currently holds a license to make a film based on the Choose Your Own Adventure books.
Netflix had previously held negotiations with Chooseco in 2016 to license the phrase in connection with films and interactive cartoons, according to the suit, however, the negotiations didn’t result in a license.
“Netflix intentionally and willfully used Chooseco’s famous mark in order to benefit from the positive associations with — and nostalgia for — the brand by adults who read the series as youngsters,” the suit alleges.
Chooseco has been vigilant about the use of its trademark by other companies. A decade ago, the publisher sued Daimler Chrysler for using the "Choose your Adventure" slogan in a campaign for Jeeps. That case was settled without a trial.