Thanks to a judgment from a California Federal judge, the unauthorized Evil Dead sequel being prepared by Award Pictures has been stopped, well, dead.
At the heart of Awards’s assertion that they could make an Evil Dead film was 2000 Raimi’s statement that his Renaissance Pictures production company would not be making any more Evil Dead films was an abandonment of their claim of trademark on the material in the three horror film series that Raimi directed. In a filing with the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Award Pictures argued that even if the trademark for the first film is valid, the two sequels were made for different studios and constitute “work for hire” and thus could not be considered “continued use.” They also pointed to over 20 other films that used “Evil Dead” in their titles that Renaissance did nothing about.
Renaissance countered in their lawsuit this past May that although there have been no new films planned until the recently announced remake, they have continued to use the mark through the licensing of video games, comic books and collector memorabilia. They also stated that if Award Pictures planned film were to continue it would invariably infringe on many of their Evil Dead copyrights.
Judge Dale Fisher agreed with Renaissance and Raimi’s argument and stated that Awards Pictures are permanently forbidden from –
[U]sing the EVIL DEAD name or mark or any derivation or colorable imitations thereof, or any name or mark that is confusingly similar thereto, including but not limited to the names Evil Dead; Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon; Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon, Part 2; Evil Dead: Consequences, (collectively, the “Prohibited Names”), as or as part of the title of a motion picture, television program, video game, play, book or any other form of entertainment provided or to be provided through any media, or in connection with the promotion, development, distribution, or production of any form of entertainment.
Judge Fisher also ordered Awards to refrain from –
[D]oing any other acts or things calculated or likely to cause confusion or mistake in the mind of the public or to lead purchasers or consumers or investors into the belief that the products or services promoted, offered or sponsored by Defendant emanate from or originate with Plaintiff or its licensees.
Deadline is reporting that the judgment may partly be the result from Awards never responding to Renaissance’s initial filing back in May and their claim that they didn’t even have the money to hire a lawyer to represent them.