Last year at the Disney Investor Day, a brand new streaming service, Star+, was announced for Latin America, which would bring together general entertainment TV series and movies from The Walt Disney Company’s content studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, Touchstone, and more, in addition to being streaming live sports from ESPN.
Unlike the rest of the world, which had “Star” added to Disney+ as a sixth brand featuring more mature content, Latin America was getting a hybrid of ESPN+ and Star. Also, earlier in the year, Disney rebranded its Fox television channels to Star throughout Latin America.
Originally Star+ was due to launch in June, but it was delayed until the end of August. While Disney announced the delay was more due to the issues with sporting events, there was a legal issue being put forward by Starz Entertainment, which operates StarzPlay (Starz) around the world.
Starz Entertainment filed a dispute for the registered trademark in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Stating that because StarzPlay and Star+ are in the same category, it will lead to people being confused. They’ve also opposed the trademarks for the Star Channel, Life, Hits, Fun, Action, Comedy and Classics and Premium channels.
Then in June, a lawsuit was filed to stop Disney from launching Star+, stating:
“Disney’s decision to launch a standalone general entertainment streaming service under the name ‘Star+’ and rename its existing channels to ‘Star’ in Latin America — despite the prior existence of and trademark registrations for Starz’s own similarly named StarzPlay general entertainment streaming service — is extremely likely to cause customer confusion in the Latin American marketplace and infringes on Starz’s marks. Such customer confusion can be impossible to remedy and will likely only increase as Disney launches its marketing blitz in those regions.”
In Brazil, the São Paulo Court ruled in favour of Disney in the lawsuit, however during an appeal that took place this week, Jorge Tosta , of the 2nd Reserved Chamber of Business Law of the Court of Justice of São Paulo , upheld the appeal, saying that Disney must refrain from using the phrase ” STARPLUS ” or “STAR + ” in its new streaming service. Stating:
“there is a possibility that the consumer may be confused or link one brand to another, as if it were from the same business or economic group, causing harm to the holder of the registration or patent “.
This will no doubt have a major issue for Disney to overcome in Latin America. At the same time, there are many ways around this, such as Disney paying Starz Entertainment to use the name (which Disney is already using worldwide, following its purchase of 20th Century Fox).
Or Disney might have to change its strategy in the region completely. Such as moving Star into Disney+, like it has done in the UK, Australia and Canada, with ESPN+ hosting all the sports content. Merge everything in with Disney+, as it has done with Disney+ Hotstar in India. Or come up with a brand new name for Star+.
Any way you look at it, the Star+ launch in August is looking less likely. However, it should be expected that Disney will still try to work a legal way around the situation.
What do you think Disney should down with Star+ now in Latin America.
Source – Vcfaz