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Lawyerizing Imagineering


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In 1967, The Walt Disney Corporation filed a copyright for a term that combined the word imagination with engineering. At some point after they received the copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office, they used the word and its meaning in their animation business. Then, Disney filed and received a trademark on the term from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. The Disney Corporation owns the term, and when they use it, you will often see the registration symbol ® behind it.

The term, coined before the Walt Disney Corporation existed, traces back to the 1940’s. Disney attorneys successfully “lawyerized the term.” In this article, I use the terms “lawyerize” and “lawyerizing,” which I found listed in the online Urban Dictionary as trending new terms. I did not conceive those terms, but they pair well with the point that I make about how an idea, a reality, and even a word can be protected even though someone else conceived those things. In other words, when your “magic happens,” you may not own the concept, the reality, or even the terminology. By the way, by placing magic in The Magic Kingdom®, Disney created another lawyerized trademark.

Magic means that something mysterious happened. We do not know how it happened. We all benefit from the reality of Walt Disney’s vision for producing and providing public entertainment. Visit their parks, view their films, experience Disney magic for fun, and especially do that for your young children. But, don’t mess with Disney copyrighted and trademarked stuff. The power of lawyerizing protects their entertainment, art, engineering, and intellectual property. The Disney Corporation has copyrighted and trademarked many terms associated with their creations.

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