Toy Story 3’s villain, Lots-O’-Huggin Bear, is a villain only to the extent that he antagonizes the main characters—beyond that, he’s a conflicted, tortured soul. Suffering from psychological problems stemming from his owner abandoning him, Lotso built up a kingdom at Sunnyside Daycare Center to shield himself from those problems. One problem he can’t hide from, though? He’s a complete ripoff of a doll from New Jersey toy makers, Diece-Lisa Industries. Allegedly.
Diece-Lisa Industries filed a lawsuit against Disney in Texas today, saying that their Lotso character directly infringes on their “Lots of Hugs” hears. DLI has offered their take on a huggable-bear since around December 1995, and even allowed its likeness to be used for the Olympic Panda Bear in the 2008 Olympics.
But it doesn’t stop at the trademark—DLI has a registered patent on their bear as well. Evidently, DLI’s “hugging technology” developed for their Lots of Hugs bear was licensed to Disney for a “Bear in the Big Blue House” stuffed animal that operated along the same lines. Which, of course, is to say that DLI thinks Disney knew all about their claim to the bear in question but ignored their property rights anyway.
DLI further claims that they’ve been harmed by Disney’s appropriation of their character, citing a case with Interactive Group from 2011:
"IG was fearful to use the 'Lots of Hugs' mark for the DLI licensed bear products in view of the worldwide success of the Toy Story 3 movie -- fearing Disney and consumer confusion with Defendant [Disney's] 'Lots-O'-Huggin'' bear a/k/a 'Lotso' bear character if IG should market and sell 'Lots of Hugs' bears. Subsequently, IG required that the licensed bear be marked 'hugalots' instead of 'Lots of Hugs.'
Currently, DLI is suing for trademark infringement and unfair competition, along with compensation and an injunction. So, let this be a lesson: Bears are serious business.