For their many fans in Florida and elsewhere, a big part of the appeal of the three “Toy Story” movies was their use of familiar childhood toys. Mr. Potato Head, Barbie, even a toy phone all showed up as characters in these movies, lending an air of nostalgia and familiarity. However, this aspect of the movies may also have created some unwanted legal trouble for the films’ producers.

Recently, the toy company Diece-Lisa Industries filed a complaint against Walt Disney Enterprises, alleging that it had infringed its trademark and hurt its business. At issue in the complaint is “Lotso,” the villain in the 2010 movie “Toy Story 3.” Diece-Lisa Industries has been marketing “Lots of Hugs” bears since 1995, but it says that consumers and other businesses now associate its products with the mean-spirited Lotso character in the movie. At least one company that was negotiating contracts with Diece-Lisa begged the company to change the toy’s name.

One of the interesting things about entertainment law is how far removed the world of property rights, merchandising deals and contract negotiation can seem from the magic of entertainment. Those who work in Florida’s entertainment industry know that things that look sweet and cuddly to the audience can often have claws hidden behind their backs.

People who work in Florida’s entertainment business may utilize the help of attorneys who understand this contrast when they negotiate their contracts or navigate legal disputes. Experienced entertainment lawyers can help take care of the legal end so that their clients can keep the magic dazzling their audiences.

Source: Huffington Post, “Disney Sued Over ‘Lotso’ Bear From ‘Toy Story 3’,” Tyler McCarthy, Feb. 12, 2014