In May 2021, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would be rolling out a new streaming service called “Star+” in multiple Latin American nations, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina.
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The name of the service — which will feature content from Disney-owned brands like ESPN, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm (Star Wars), and Walt Disney Animation Studios — has caused some problems between Disney and another media company, Starz (owned by Lionsgate).
In June, it was reported that:
Starz is arguing that the name of Disney’s forthcoming streaming service is too similar with Starz, particularly its own streaming service 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, Starz argues they are too close in name and will lead to customer confusion.
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The Starz lawsuit, which was filed in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, asserted that:
“Such customer confusion can be impossible to remedy and will likely only increase as Disney launches its marketing blitz in those regions.”
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Now, a judge in Sao Paolo, Brazil has granted a restraining order against The Walt Disney Company, ruling in favor of Starz. Per Yahoo!:
A judge in Sao Paolo granted a temporary restraining order on Friday, holding that Disney cannot use the brand name when the service debuts on Aug. 31…“The plaintiff proved to have priority of use and registration in Brazil over the word mark ‘STARZPLAY,’ including for identifying entertainment services, which grants it the right to protect its reputation and material integrity,” wrote Judge Jorge Tosta.
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The judge went on to note that Disney’s “enormous marketing power” could be enough to harm the Starz brand in the Brazilian marketplace.
It is worth noting that the Argentian court system has denied Starz’s complaint, while Mexican courts have yet to rule.
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Star+ is set to be available in addition to Disney’s primary streaming platform, Disney+, which began rolling out in Latin America in November 2020.
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At the time, Variety noted:
Disney Plus has made good on its promise to deliver a varied and ambitious original programming lineup in Latin America where it launched on Nov. 17.
More than 70 original productions are in various stages of development and production in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, Disney’s four biggest markets.
Shows include El Ristoranto de Arnoldo.
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Neither Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek nor any other spokesperson for the company has issued a statement regarding the Brazilian Star+ ruling at this time.
What do you think? Could Disney’s Star+ name hurt the Starz brand?