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The truth about Disney inflatables

Lately there have been some manufacturers and importers who offer inflatables with Disney themes like Frozen, Dora, Spiderman and SpongeBob etc, as well as other brands like Marvel and DC Comics.

Of course these themed bouncy castles are attractive to both children and their parents, and they are incredibly popular, especially since Disney seems to be coming up with a new box-office-shattering phenomenon every year or so.

It needs to be noted however that manufacturing, buying or renting out these bouncy castles is in fact illegal. Yes, you’ve read that right! Read it again if you have to, since this report can save you a lot of money down the road.

In Europe NO manufacturer or reseller of bouncy castles has a license to build, offer or sell Disney themed bouncy castles or velcro banners to put on them. In the USA there’s only one company that is allowed to do so, but they can’t sell these Disney bouncy castles to Europe as part of their licensing contract.

All of Disney’s characters, images, pictures and names are trademarked and protected by copyright. The commercial use of a bouncy castle with a Disney theme is in fact an infringement of the notoriously-litigious firm’s intellectual property.

Being the multinational company that Disney is, it employs numerous intellectual property lawyers across the world, all of whom actively look for infringements of Disney’s rights. The mere fact that some unscrupulous bouncy castle manufacturers offer this type of themed castles does not give you permission to rent them out and make money of them.

There have been multiple lawsuits in the UK against rental companies who were prosecuted and had to pay not only a fine and the legal costs of both parties, but that also had to repay all profits the castles in question made in the previous 5 years. How do you think that would affect your business? Even though some companies have been renting out Frozen or Mickey Mouse castles for years, they can still be held accountable, and all the hard work, energy and financial investments you have made in your business could go to waste the moment you’ll receive a letter from a Disney lawyer. If you’re a Sole Trader then you could end up in real trouble and possibly lose your home.

You might ask, why are there still companies manufacturing and selling Disney bouncy castles or Disney banners to put on the castles?

The short answer is that these sellers primarily want you to purchase products from them, and the simple fact that selling you a Frozen bouncy castle imposes a financial and legal risk for you is not something they lose any sleep over.

The trick that suppliers of ‘Disney-themed inflatables’ often use is to point the finger to their customers, who they may allege requested a ‘bespoke’ Disney themed castle. In their terms and conditions, manufactures could try to ensure they do not shoulder any responsibility when selling a Disney-themed bouncy castle or printed Disney banner.

Another trick manufacturer’s use is that they do not state the ‘themed’ part on their invoice – if they hand out an invoice at all that is. This means they can simply deny that they sold a Disney-themed castle in the first place should they ever find themselves talking to Disney’s lawyers.

So know this: NO manufacturer of bouncy castles in the UK or Ireland is allowed or licensed to manufacture or sell Disney bouncy castles, or provide Disney banners with it, legally! Nor are you as a rental company allowed to offer, or rent out a Disney themed bouncy castle or use Velcro banner displaying Disney characters or trademarks.

Be aware of the risk of infringement of copyrights. An enormous fine and huge financial losses can be the outcome and the manufacturers will definitely not help you whilst you try to survive a legal battle against a billion dollar corporation and its lawyers in court.

We would like to thank the Bouncy Castle Network for co-authoring this article.