Disney Wins Reprieve In Go Logo Dispute

After being pushed to the legal brink by online search engine and marketplace GoTo.com, The Walt Disney Co. was granted an emergency stay on an injunction yesterday that would have forced the company to discontinue the use of its Go Network logo.

The stay, issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, came shortly after Infoseek shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of the company by Disney. Infoseek will be a crucial link in the Go Network.

The Court of Appeals ruling came two days after a U.S. District Court Judge in Los Angeles denied Disney’s request for the stay and also granted GoTo’s amendment to phase out the Go Network logo from all Disney-affiliated materials over the next 60 days.

Instead, with the Appeals Court ruling, Disney will now be allowed to display the logo at least until a court date between the two companies next spring.

GoTo’s lawyers were unavailable for comment this morning.

Talks Broke Down

GoTo first filed suit against Disney in February, claiming that the Go Network’s green and yellow logo with “Go” spelled out in white in the middle too closely resembled its own green and yellow logo with “GoTo” spelled out in white in the middle. GoTo.com introduced its logo in December 1997.

GoTo asserts that it talked with Disney for four weeks about the logo’s distinct similarities, but was forced to file a lawsuit when the talks broke off. GoTo says that the logos have caused confusion between the two companies.

Go’s Struggles

Confusion has seemed to follow the Go Network wherever it goes. Launched by Disney in February, the network is made up of Disney Internet properties ABCNews.com, ESPN.com, Family.com, Disney.com, Infoseek and others. However, many users have complained that it is difficult to navigate and confusing in its presentation.

The vote by Infoseek shareholders was critical to the success of Disney’s new Go.com division. The search engine — which is 44 percent owned by Disney — will be the hub of the network. Disney has taken Go.com public to serve as a tracking stock for its Internet holdings.

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