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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Zippo flares over Disney cartoon
Zippo mobile
An advertising road show from the late 1940s
The firm that makes Zippo lighters has filed a suit against Walt Disney and ABC.

Zippo Manufacturing filed the lawsuit in the US federal court in Erie, Pennsylvania, alleging that a cartoon dinosaur called Zippo represents a breach of its rights to the brand name.

"Zippo has been our trademark since our founder George Blaisdell began manufacturing and marketing our famous windproof lighters in 1932," Gregory W. Booth, president of Zippo said in a statement.

"There should be no doubt that we clearly own all rights to the Zippo mark. It concerns us that Hallmark Entertainment, Disney and ABC elected to use our mark without our knowledge," he said, adding that he hopes an amicable agreement can be reached.

Company officials at Disney and ABC have reportedly declined to comment.

Dinosaur frolics

Zippo the dinosaur is a character in a cartoon mini-series called 'Dinotopia' based on books by writer James Gurney.

In 'Dinotopia', humans and dinosaurs live together in an imaginary world.

Zippo, the lighter company, is based in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and promotes the "wind-proof" lighters as impossible to blow out.

The 70-year old brand's fame took off during World War II, when Zippo's entire production was distributed through commercial outlets run by the US military.

At present, Zippo believes there are more than four million people collecting its lighters in the United States alone. Collectors' clubs have also sprung up in Japan and Europe.

The lighters have appeared in more than 800 movies since they were first sold in 1932.

See also:

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