Evel Knievel garnered worldwide fame and recognition starting in the late 1960s when performing death-defying motorcycle jumps. By the early 1970s, Knievel became equally known for his readily identifiable signature wardrobe: a white jumpsuit embellished with star-spangled red, white and blue patriotic insignia with matching cape and helmet, and for his similarly decorated motorcycle. Evel’s best-known stunts included soaring over the fountains of Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, launching a steam-powered rocket over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho, and jumping over 13 buses at England’s Wembley Stadium. All three were among Evel’s many crashes, which only added to his daredevil image.
Now, K&K Promotions, Inc., the owner of the Evel Knievel brand has sued Disney, alleging a “Toy Story 4” character infringes on the daredevil motorcyclist’s trademark. K&K filed a lawsuit in federal court against The Walt Disney Company, Pixar, and other Disney-related entities, alleging trademark infringement and violations of K&K’s rights of publicity.
In 2019, Disney Pixar released Toy Story 4, featuring a major new toy character named “Duke Caboom,” voiced by Keanu Reeves. The character is a 1970s-era motorcycle-riding toy stuntman. The complaint alleges the Disney character is an unlawful knockoff of the classic and newly re-released Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle.
The complaint seeks actual, compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, as well as profits from the film, “in an amount to be determined at trial.”
Kelly Knievel, son of the world-renowned performer and the spokesperson for K&K Promotions, said, “Evel Knievel did not thrill millions around the world, break his bones and spill his blood just so Disney could make a bunch of money. He remains an instantly-recognized icon, as demonstrated by the huge popularity of the re-issued Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle among kids who hadn’t even been born when my father died a dozen years ago.”
Not everyone can jump over 13 buses, but everyone can get sued because legal disputes like this one are EVERYWHERE. When those nasty things affect YOU or YOUR business, call in the daredevil business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!
More on the case: