Disney and its Go Network’s plans to launch a publicly-traded division called go.com suffered a setback last week when a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles issued a preliminary injunction that prevented the company from using its familiar Go logo.
The injunction stems from a lawsuit filed by marketplace search engine GoTo.com last February. The suit claims that the Go Network’s logo too closely matches its own and has caused the company to be confused with the Disney portal.
The suit is not expected to be heard until late next year, with pre-trial motions beginning in the spring. Disney has been banned from using its logo for the length of the trial. The order was to go into effect today, although the network’s green and yellow logo was visible on the site this morning.
Disney is reportedly attempting to get a stay of the judge’s order and an appellate review. The company was unavailable for comment this morning.
Ready, Set, Stop
The Go Network is comprised of Infoseek, ESPN, ABCNews, Family.com and other Disney Web sites. It was launched in January and has received mixed reviews from the industry and the public. The network is often accused of being difficult to navigate and confusing in its presentation of Disney’s family of Internet holdings.
Analysts predicted that Disney would encounter roadblocks with its choice of name, and GoTo.com was one of the more obvious.
When the suit was filed in February, GoTo.com CEO Jeffrey Brewer said that the companies had discussed the disputed logo for four weeks and the lawsuit was a direct result of a breakdown in those talks.
Brewer said that the similarity in name and logo between the two caused confusion at every turn. He added that one of his media buyers even received a call from an ESPN ad representative offering the company a discounted Disney “family rate.”
Disney owns 44 percent of Infoseek, which is the hub of Disney’s network. The company booked sales of $137 million (US$) last year, but also reported a staggering loss of $265 million for the fiscal year.
Infoseek shareholders are scheduled to vote this week on whether they want to merge with Disney and become part of the go.com division. The publicly-traded division would serve as a tracking stock for all of Disney’s Internet holdings.
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