Netflix’s interactive feature Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has been a hit. But on January 11, the show was hit by a lawsuit by Vermont-based indie publisher Chooseco LLC, publisher of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure interactive children’s book series. The publisher filed suit against Netflix in federal court for infringing its Choose Your Own Adventure trademark, report Publisher’s Weekly and Forbes.
Released on December 28, 2018, Netflix's Bandersnatch centers on a video game designer who asserts that his work is based on “Bandersnatch...a Choose Your Own Adventure book.” But in its complaint, Chooseco officials say that Netflix not only did not license the right to use its trademark in connection with the character's fictional Bandersnatch book, but that the film’s dark content, which includes "depictions of a demonic presence, violent fighting, drug use, murder, mutilation of a corpse, decapitation, and other upsetting imagery," disparages its trademark.
“The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco,” said Shannon Gilligan, Chooseco’s co-founder and publisher, in a release. Gilligan said the publisher has received “an unprecedented amount of outreach” from people who believe the children's publisher is associated with the film, and alleges that “the use of Choose Your Own Adventure in association with such graphic content is likely to cause significant damage, impacting our book sales and affecting our ability to work with licensing partners in the future.”