Piggybacking on success is no new concept in the movie industry. Once something is popular, everyone else has to get in on the game. But today's news isn't a case of Twilight exploding and every film and TV studio trying to exploit the popularity of vampires. It's even more shameless: A Canadian-based oil company has renamed itself after Hollywood's most treasured producer of fine CGI-animated films.
The company in question is Paramount Resources and BigScreenAnimation.com (via TheDisneyBlog.com) picked up on the press release:
"Paramount Resources Ltd. (TSX:POU) ("Paramount" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the reorganization of all of the Company's oil sands and carbonate bitumen interests into a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Pixar Petroleum Corp. ("Pixar"). The reorganization is being undertaken to create a focused, self-funding oil sands entity in order to accelerate the development of Paramount's bitumen interests. Dr. William Roach has been appointed as Pixar's President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition, the initial independent resource estimates for the Saleski and other carbonate bitumen properties have now been completed and the Company is pleased to announce the results."
The saddest thing here is that Disney, who owns Pixar, likely doesn't have much legal recourse here. The reason for that is simple: since the two companies operate in very different industries, there will be no mistaking Pixar the petroleum company for Pixar the animation studio. With no risk of brand product confusion, the real Pixar has few legal avenues to explore beyond, "That's really annoying." It's possible that they could sue on grounds that it dilutes their well-earned brand name, but because they operate in two different countries, that may not even be worth the legal costs to pursue.
Either way, it's hard to take this re-titling as anything but an attempt to cash in on the cooler paths paved by walking in the Disney/Pixar shadow. Fossil fuel producers don't exactly have it easy when it comes to creating favorable public images these days, so it's easier to legally copy an already beloved company's name than it is to earn it on your own.