As The Walt Disney Company prepares to launch its new streaming service Star+ in Latin America in August, the entertainment giant could face an unexpected legal battle: Starz, owner of the OTT service StarzPlay, filed trademark infringement lawsuits against Disney in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
According to the Lionsgate-owned network, the name of Disney’s new streaming platform is too similar with StarzPlay, which operates in 58 countries worldwide and has been available in Latin America since 2019. Because StarzPlay and Star+ fall in the same category, the company argues that the similarity in the names will generate confusion among consumers.
“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,” Starz said in the lawsuit. “Such customer confusion can be impossible to remedy and will likely only increase as Disney launches its marketing blitz in those regions,” the company added.
The opposition to the registration of the Star+ brand in Brazil was filled on April 1, 2021. This legal process could explain why the promotion of Star+ in Brazil is paused right now. In the context of a legal victory for Starz, Disney will have to change, once again, the name of its national channels and new streaming service.