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Disney Faces Contempt Charge over Logo

March 11, 2000|KAREN KAPLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal district judge has told Walt Disney Co. that it could be found in criminal contempt for failing to remove old logos for its Go.com Internet unit.

Go.com's old circular green-and-white logo resembles a traffic light. It also strongly resembles the circular green-and-white logo of Pasadena-based search engine Goto.com, which sued Disney a year ago over the matter. After two appeals, a federal appeals court agreed with Goto.com that the icons were confusingly similar and ordered Disney to stop using its logo.

Goto.com went back to court last month asking that Disney be held in civil contempt over its continued use of the traffic-light logo. Although the Go.com Web site sports a new logo featuring a yellow arrow and no circles, the old logo still is in use. For instance, it appears in an ad in the current issue of People magazine promoting an upcoming film about Kathie Lee Gifford on ABC.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter upgraded Goto.com's request and said he would consider holding Disney in criminal contempt. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 27.

Disney spokeswoman Chris Castro said the old logos were not used intentionally. In November, Disney told Hatter that it would cost $40 million to remove all its logos.

"We've taken the order very seriously and we've made every effort to comply with it," she said.

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