LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–K&K Promotions, Inc., the brand that owns the intellectual property rights of famed motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, has 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.
The lawsuit was filed by K&K’s attorneys Randall Jones and Ronald DiNicola in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.
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.
Ideal Toys released the iconic Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle in 1973, featuring a doll of Evel in his signature red, white, and blue jumpsuit and matching helmet and motorcycle. The toy famously came with an “Energizer,” which users would wind up and release, propelling the toy motorcycle and doll forward.
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. (www.EvelKnievelToys.com)
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.”
Auerbach & Co. Public Relations