LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge dismissed a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Evel Knievel’s son a year ago against the Walt Disney Co. and movie company Pixar over a “Toy Story 4” daredevil character named Duke Caboom.
Kelly Knievel stated in an email on Monday that “we’re obviously disappointed.” The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that they are “considering our options”.
The case against Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures was dismissed by U.S. District Judge James Mahan of Las Vegas on September 23.
According to the judge, Caboom was “reminiscent of Knievel”, but “Disney’s use of Evel Knievel’s likeness contains significant transformative components” and isn’t a literal representation.
Jeffrey R. Epstein, The Walt Disney Co. spokesperson, stated that he was currently on vacation and would not be available for comment.
K and K Promotions’ Las Vegas-based head Kelly Knievel had described the Caboom character to be “a direct knockoff of the legend and historic significance” of Knievel’s father, a famous stunt motorcyclist who died in Florida in 2007 from lung disease.
In a lawsuit filed in September 2020, Disney and Pixar were accused of deliberately modeling the “Toy Story 4” character on Knievel. These stunts included motorcycle jumps over the Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas in 1967 — including a near-fatal accident — and over a row bus at Wembley Stadium in London in 1975.
Evel Knievel sustained serious injuries during more than 75 motorcycle jumps. He survived a 1974 rocket motorcycle shot over Snake River Canyon in Idaho, which saw the machine parachuting down to the riverbank below.
The suit noted that an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle toys was released in 1973. It featured a Knievel action figure dressed in a white helmet and jumpsuit, with red, blue and white embellishments. The bike could also be propelled using a wind-up device.
According to Disney Pixar’s lawsuit, the movie character was referred to as “Duke Caboom Stunt Cycle” and its “Duke Caboom Stunt Cycle.” This film character is described by Disney Pixar in a white jumpsuit with Canadian insignia and a helmet that featured Canadian insignia.
Judge Mahan stated that the film character is a Canadian citizen, has a different name, clothing and hairstyle than Knievel.
Mahan said that Duke Caboom was not a carbon copy or Evel Knievel with some minor details. “The Duke Caboom action character is a representation Disney’s expression in film and not an effort to imitate Evel Knievel.”