It's doubtful that Netflix saw this one coming.
Chooseco, LLC, the publisher behind the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series and owner of the trademark, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the immersive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, The Hollywood Reporter reports. In fact, just a couple of weeks after its debut, Bandersnatch is already at the center of a lawsuit directed at Netflix.
In "Bandersnatch", viewers control the fate of a computer programmer who's creating a video game based on a fantasy novel titled Bandersnatch. Rival studio 20th Century Fox now holds the option to develop a Choose Your Own Adventure interactive series with Chooseco.
Chooseco accuses Netflix of benefitting off of its brand, which it claims has been known worldwide for decades.
According to a January 11th, 2019 Hollywood Reporter story, US -based publisher Chooseco filed documents in Vermont arguing that the publisher has used the phrase since the 1980s and has sold more than 265 million copies of its Choose Your Own Adventure books.
The complaint references a certain scene near the start of the movie, where the main character, Stefan Butler (played by Dunkirk's Fionn Whitehead) explicitly tells his father (Watership Down's Craig Parkinson) that he is reading "a Choose Your Own Adventure book".
Many critical reviews - including Global News' own coverage - described the show as similar in format to Choose Your Own Adventure.
According to Chooseco's complaint, "Netflix has no license or authorization to use Chooseco's trademark and, upon information and belief, used the mark willfully and intentionally to capitalize on viewers' nostalgia for the original book series from the 1980s and 1990s". It's hard to find a review that doesn't mention the brand. TMZ reports the streaming giant has been hit with a $25M lawsuit by the creators of "Choose Your Own Adventure" over the latest installment in the Black Mirror series.
Chooseco is seeking $25 million from Netflix in damages with the lawsuit.
According to Variety, Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.