Post by Scrooge MacDuck on Mar 27, 2019 19:08:26 GMT
It is my understanding that the Alice Comedies cartoons themselves entered the public domain som time ago. There have, in fact, been DVD releases thereof made without permission by Disney.
However, I also know from David Gerstein's breakdown of the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit controversy some time ago that just because a character's debut is in the public domain itself, doesn't mean the character and his name can't still be trademarked, which would render the former point largely moot. This is likely the trick Disney will pull for Mickey when Steamboat Willie finally slips out of their Scrooge-like grasp, to prevent anyone and their grandma for making their own Mickey cartoons.
But it relies on there being a Mickey Mouse trademark. So the question is therefore, is there a Disney-owned trademark that covers Julius & Alice? Or could someone unaffiliated with Disney make their own cartoons/comics/whatever starring the two, without repercussions?
(And… what about Pete? Somehow I feel like he's probably trademarked, illicit Universal appearances be damned, but it doesn't hurt to ask.)
Post by Scrooge MacDuck on Mar 28, 2019 17:08:33 GMT
The more I think about it, the more confident I grow that Pete'd be covered by the “Mickey Mouse & Friends” franchise. But the question remains, would Alice & Julius? I don't think they've even ever met Mickey!
Aw, now that's not fair. And couldn't they just trademark the basic concept of “black cartoon cat called Julius, pals with mischievous human girl Alice”? If one can trademark a set of three circles (e.g. the Mickey Mouse shape), why would that be too simple?