Netflix is being sued by Chooseco LLC, known for publishing the "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels popular in the 1980s and 90s, for alleged trademark infringement in the interactive episode of Black Mirror, 'Bandersnatch'.
In its complaint, Chooseco points out a scene in Bandersnatch where a character makes reference to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, which seems to be the main infringement charge against Netflix.
According to the suit, Netflix apparently tried to obtain a license for Chooseco's trademark in the past, but wasn't able to reach a deal with the publisher.
As reported by Variety, the suit claims that the episode is violent and disturbing, with its "dark and violent themes" being inappropriate for readers of the series. The suit also claims that the themes tarnish the “Choose Your Own Adventure” brand.
It's worth noting that Bandersnatch is certainly not the first example featuring choose-your-own-adventure styled storytelling, with various video games having incorporated choice-based storylines as well (think Until Dawn).
After R.A. Montgomery, the original publisher and author of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series, passed away in 2014, his widow Shannon Gilligan took over the company.
In a statement issued earlier today, Gilligan explains that the episode has nothing to do with the books, and it does not “adhere to the Choose Your Own Adventure rules about successful interactive storytelling.”
“The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco,” she said.
“The use of Choose Your Own Adventure in association with such graphic content is likely to cause significant damage, impacting our book sales and affecting our ability to work with licensing partners in the future.”
Chooseco is seeking at least $25 million in damages, and has issued a cease-and-desist request against Netflix regarding its use of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" mark in another one of its programs.