Disney wins lawsuit against influencers selling fake merch

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You come at the king, you best not miss.

Christopher Martin seems like he is having a carefree Disney adventure abroad at Tokyo DisneySea. He recently posted about Disney characters, nighttime entertainment and eating theme park snacks.

Martin’s Disney love apparently wasn’t hampered by the fact the Mouse sued him and his wife in late 2022 for copyright and trademark infringement in federal court, according to court records.

The Kissimmee couple had been selling knock-off Mickey Mouse ears and fake theme park merchandise to their thousands of followers on social media.

Christopher and Hannah Martin’s online store, Facebook groups and social media posts caught the attention and anger of the multibillion-dollar company.

The Martins agreed to shut down their online stores, according to a stipulated permanent injunction and final judgment approved by the courts in March. They also agreed to pay Disney $100,000, if they ever infringe against Disney again, Christopher Martin said Friday.

On the day the couple signed the agreement, the Martins celebrated at a theme park — this time, Universal.

The court order was signed off on by Judge Roy B. Dalton in the Orlando division of U.S. District Court’s Middle District of Florida. The clerk of court was directed to close the case. Each side was responsible for their own attorney fees.

The federal court records listed Richard Wolfe as the Martins’ lead attorney. When reached for comment Friday, Richard Wolfe said his son, Mason Wolfe, handled the case. Mason Wolfe did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

Disney said in court records that the Martins ignored two cease-and-desist letters ordering them to stop selling unauthorized products. The couple confused its thousands of followers by suggesting their Secret Disney Group was physically located at Walt Disney World Resort. The couple also “went so far to apply for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” for a logo, which Disney accused of ripping off from a Disneyland logo, according to court documents.

One law professor who is an expert in intellectual property law and reviewed the court documents at Florida Politics’ request said the case sends a clear message: Don’t mess with The Mouse.

“Disney is one of those entities that rarely file a case they don’t already know they’re almost certain to win. Especially when they’ve been in constant contact with the defendants as was the case here,” said Darryl Wilson, the associate dean for faculty and strategic initiatives at Stetson University’s Law School.

Christopher Martin live streamed an incident last year in the middle of his legal fight where he said Disney World banned him.

He declined to comment Friday when asked if he had issues entering Disney’s Tokyo park. Disney also did not respond to a question about whether the couple was banned overseas.

Meanwhile, Christopher Martin told his followers this spring he shut down their Facebook groups that had gotten him in trouble.

He teased their next project, a social media group about traveling, was already happening.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


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