Remember the Mockingjay from “The Hunger Games?” Well, someone out there is trying to pass off counterfeited versions of the pin, and Lionsgate isn’t going to stand for it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In a lawsuit that has been filed in California federal court, the studio will sue Yagoozon, a company that does most of its business selling novelty items on Amazon.com. The company’s “Mockingjay Pin,” the pin that graces the over of Suzanne Collins’ book and the new movie poster, is at the center of the lawsuit.
Because the pin is so important to the story and is a symbol of the billion-dollar franchise, Lionsgate has taken a number of steps to register the “Mockingjay logo” at the Trademark Office, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
THR reports that the 160-page complaint – full of colorful pictures and trademark applications – shows that Lionsgate has licensed to third parties the rights to sell various items and merchandise. Among the licensees is the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, which sells Hunger Games calendars, card games, action figures, bookmarks, board games, bags, watches, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and even a replica of the Mockingjay Pin. The lawsuit says that in March and April 2012, the defendants attempted to purchase merchandise from NECA, which refused the request.
THR reports that Yagzoon CFO Benjamin Joseph sent a threatening letter to NECA on April 11, which said:
“We have been a regular buyer of NECA products throughout the 2011 year, we are a very large seller and growing fast and we are finding out now that our competition is allowed exclusive retail rights to a specific license that NECA is facilitating: Hunger Games. We feel this is unlawful given the equal rights bestowed to retail competitors under the Sherman Antitrust Act, specifically the subdivisions of the Robinson Patman Act. We feel it is flagrantly unlawful that almost every one of our competition is selling an item that we have to sign a disclaimer to not sell in the same venue.”
Joseph got a response to his letter later that month in response to his suggestion that his company (also known as Winning Costumes LLC) was “victim of a large scale antitrust violation by NECA and Lionsgate in the retail market.” The accusations were called unfounded and meritless.
Lionsgate then learned about the counterfeit pins being sold on Amazon.com, which has recently caught heat from another film company, Warner Bros, for other counterfeit goods.
What do you think about this lawsuit? Was Yazgoon victim to a big company’s ploy? Is it wrong to sell fake Mockingjays? Let us know in the comments below!