Life is but a series of choices, and Netflix may now end up paying for theirs. The interactive Black Mirror episode “Bandersnatch” has landed the streaming service in hot water, as original Choose Your Own Adventure publishers Chooseco, LLC, have filed a $25 million lawsuit for trademark infringement.
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The filing— which you can read in full here —was filed in Vermont federal court on Friday, and alleges that “Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a license.” Netflix did not advertise “Bandersnatch” as having any affiliation with the brand, though the lead character does explicitly reference “a choose-your-own-adventure book” in dialogue. The special otherwise enables viewers to select branching story paths, similar to how Chooseco books function.
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Chooseco also notes that 20th Century Fox currently holds the option to develop a series based on the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and claims Netflix is illegally benefiting from perceived association with the brand. According to The Hollywood Reporter , Chooseco is accusing the streaming service of “infringement, dilution and unfair competition,” and demanding “at least $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profits, whichever is greater,” as well as injunctions against further behavior by Netflix.
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Additionally, Chooseco says the violence featured in “Bandersnatch” has caused them reputational harm. “We have received an unprecedented amount of outreach from people who believed we were associated with the creation of this film, including parents who were concerned that we had aligned the CYOA brand they knew and loved with content that surprised and offended them,” said company cofounder and publisher Shannon Gilligan in a statement.
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This isn’t the first time Chooseco has defended its brand in court. The publisher previously sued Chrysler over a “Choose Your Adventure” slogan used to sell Jeeps, and later settled the case.
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