Universal and Disney have been in a great battle to build the better amusement park and the parks clearly take “inspiration” from each other. Disneyland Paris came up with a very original idea of selling customizable wands from a shop in its amusement park but is there anything that Universal can do about it?
By way of the Disney and More blog, comes news of a new wand shop opening in Disneyland Paris. Disneyland Paris is working with Arribas Crystal Arts to sell magic wands from Merlin’s shop at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The ties to Merlin selling wands from a movie that no one even remembers is flimsy but merch sells. Its very clear there was other inspiration to sell the wands.The wands are sold in long thin boxes and made out of glass. Look familiar, well it should.
Since the opening of Harry Potter World in Orlando, Universal has sold similar wands from its own shop, Olivanders, and throughout the park. The wands are sold in long thin boxes bit made out or a hard resin like material. Put the two boxes next to each other and you can see the similarities.
So it is clear the Disney stole the idea of selling wands from Universal but can anything be done about? The quick answer is no. Copyright law protects the expression of an idea but not the idea itself. Here, the idea is to sell wands from a shop in an amusement park; the expression of the idea is the actual look of the wands themselves. The wand is a generic shape so the shape is not protected but the actual details are. Disney is doing something different with their wands so they do not look exactly alike and therfore Disney is not committing copyright infringement.
No update on whether the wands will make their way to Disneyland Anaheim or Disney World but if they are selling well in Paris, I can’t imagine the wait will be long.