The manufacturers of the Luxo lamp, model for Pixar’s mascot, have ended over two decades of happy cooperation by the two companies by this week filing a lawsuit against the animation studio. While they have been more than happy for Pixar to use the likeness of their product on screen, the lawsuit seems to have been brought about by both the new Luxo Jr. replica lamps that Disney will be packaging in the Premium Combo Pack release of the Up Blu-Ray, and a nifty looking animatronic 6ft-tall Luxo Jr. that has been making an appearance at Walt Disney World (and who you can see in action after the break).
According to a Bloomberg report on the suit (via The Pixar Blog), Pixar haven’t used the Luxo brand name before now, which doesn’t add up to me because the short is called Luxo Jr. and is named on at least one DVD and one Blu-Ray already in my collection. All the same, they haven’t been selling their own lamps, I know that much. I love you Pixar, but surely somebody in your merchandising department should have officially licensed this?
Is Pixar’s mistake here really that different to me making a cartoon about Coca-Cola then launching my own version of the drink as a tie-in? It seems to be a stunningly clear breach of somebody else’s design copyright to me.
For the last 20-some years, and particularly since Toy Story, I’m sure that the use of a Luxo lamp in all of Pixar’s branding and logotypes has been a great asset to the Norwegian lighting manufacturers. I can’t imagine how many extra lamps this sold to fans, and by extension, how many sales are going to be lost through Disney Pixar releasing their unlicensed knock-off.
Hopefully a last minute agreement can be struck by which Luxo are paid a licensing fee on each Premium Combo Pack sold? And going onwards, how about Luxo manufacturing official Pixar merch?
The LA Times have related a ‘no comment’ in behalf of Disney.
Here’s a look at the animatronic Luxo Jr. in action.