A judge in Sao Paolo granted a temporary restraining order on Friday, holding that Disney cannot use the brand name when the service debuts on Aug. 31.
Disney announced in May that it would launch the new service in most Latin American countries, with offerings including ESPN content along with movies and TV shows from Disney’s various entities.
Starz has filed complaints in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, arguing that the “Star Plus” name infringes on its trademarks and will cause customer confusion. The ruling in Brazil is the first to enjoin Disney from using the name.
“The plaintiff proved to have priority of use and registration in Brazil over the word mark ‘STARZPLAY,’ including for identifying entertainment services, which grants it the right to protect its reputation and material integrity,” wrote Judge Jorge Tosta.
Starz, a Lionsgate company, operates the Starzplay streaming service in international territories. It launched in Brazil in 2019, and trademarked the term “STARZPLAY.”
“Obviously, a consumer, when referring to the streaming services offered by the parties, will not do so by saying that he watched a movie through ‘STARZPLAY’ or ‘STARPLUS,’ but simply through ‘STAR,’” Tosta wrote.
The judge also noted Disney’s “enormous marketing power,” and held that the new service posed a genuine threat to dilute Starz’s brand.
Tosta’s ruling overturned a lower court, which had denied the injunction. The order is in place pending the outcome of the case.
An Argentinian court denied Starz’s complaint, and Mexico has yet to rule on the issue.