Bloomberg Law
Jan. 7, 2019, 11:01 AM

No (Legal) Worries for Disney in ‘Hakuna Matata’ Trademark Row

Kyle Jahner
Kyle Jahner
IP Reporter

Hakuna Matata still means “no worries” for the Walt Disney Co.—even though it’s become a publicity headache.

The entertainment giant has been besieged by a campaign against its trademark of the Swahili phrase from its animated blockbuster movie “The Lion King,” following Disney’s promotion of its upcoming live-action version. More than 180,000 people have signed an online petition accusing the entertainment giant of cultural appropriation for trademarking the phrase.

The petition said companies shouldn’t be able to register trademarks on long-used phrases “they didn’t invent.” But critics aren’t taking into account the nature and limits of trademark rights, attorneys told ...

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