Does Disney own the trademark rights to "The Cat in the Hat" brand? Recently, rumors have been circulating across the internet that Disney owns the trademark rights to "The Cat in the Hat". This is due to the viral Club Shay Shay interview with Katt Williams and Shannon Sharpe. In the Club Shay Shay interview, Katt Williams reveals that he was sent a cease and desist letter by Disney for trademark infringement. Did Katt Williams really commit trademark infringement and was he really sued by Disney?
In the famous Club Shay Shay interview, Shannon Sharpe asks Katt Williams what his life would have been like had he not become a famous comedian? Katt Williams then reveals that when he first began stand-up comedy his stage name was "Katt in the Hat"; and that he barely grossed $25,000 a year. During that time, Katt Williams alleges that Disney sent him a cease and desist letter due to his stage name being confusingly similar to the Dr. Seuss brand "The Cat in the Hat". It's important to understand that "The Cat in the Hat" is a children's book written in 1957 by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is an established brand on its own.
A trademark search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office reveals that there are numerous registered marks for "The Cat in the Hat" wordmark, logos, and designs associated with "The Cat in the Hat". All of these trademarks are owned by Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P., they are not owned by Disney. As a trademark attorney and trademark infringement litigator, I was unable to find a "The Cat in the Hat" mark that is owned by Disney. In addition, the 2003 "The Cat in the Hat" film was produced by Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, United International Pictures, and FilmFlex. These companies are not owned by Disney.
It is highly possible that Katt Williams did receive a cease and desist letter to stop using the comedian stage name "Katt in the Hat", but it's unlikely that is was sent by Disney. It is more plausible to believe that Katt Williams misspoke on the name of the company that sent him the cease and desist letter. Even if Disney did send Katt Williams a cease and desist letter, Disney would have not won a trademark infringement lawsuit against Katt Williams. According to Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P.'s website, the Dr. Seuss brand is the number one licensed children's book brand and number two highest grossing legacy celebrity intellectual property. This means that Dr. Seuss Enterprises has always been the sole trademark owner of "The Cat in the Hat". Of course, a comedian making only $25,000 a year would not have known that information. Thankfully, Micah Williams (birth name) owns the trademark to his stage name Katt Williams. Now, Katt Williams is in the perfect position to send a cease and desist letter to anyone infringing upon his trademark rights.
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Chareese "Queen" Haile, Esq is a trademark attorney located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She helps entrepreneurs, business owners, creatives, and visionaries in all 50 states protect their intellectual property with trademarks. She provides the following services: trademark searches and registrations; trademark office action responses; Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Defense and Prosecutions (oppositions, cancellations, etc.); Trademark Litigation in State and Federal Court.