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Disney, GoTo.com Still Haggling Over Logo Infringement Claim

May 24, 2000|KAREN KAPLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Walt Disney Co. has been negotiating for more than a month to try to settle a trademark-infringement suit filed a year ago by Internet search engine firm GoTo.com, according to people familiar with the case.

In a meeting with a U.S. District Court judge on April 20, the two sides agreed to try to work out a settlement. Negotiations are in the final stages, but the talks could still fall through before an agreement is reached, said one person who is following the case.

Pasadena-based GoTo.com filed suit in February 1999, claiming that the circular green logo with white letters used by Disney's Internet unit, Go.com, too closely resembles GoTo.com's own circular green logo with white letters.

GoTo.com began using its logo in December 1997; Disney introduced its logo in January 1999.

In November, U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter ordered Burbank-based Disney to stop using the logo until the matter could be heard by a jury. Disney appealed that preliminary injunction, arguing that it would cost the entertainment giant $40 million to remove the logo from television commercials, movie trailers, CD cases and print advertisements.

But the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with 2 1/2-year-old GoTo.com in January.

In March, Hatter warned Disney that it could be held in criminal contempt if it did not remove the logo. Go.com has recently begun using a logo with large green letters and a yellow arrow.

In New York Stock Exchange trading Tuesday, Disney shares fell 81 cents to $40.06. Its Go.com tracking stock lost $1 to $13.75. Shares of GoTo.com slid $1.13 Tuesday to $15.75 on Nasdaq.

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