Disney is set to launch its standalone Star+ streaming service in Latin America in August, but Starz has filed complaints in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina alleging Disney is infringing on its brand identity and that the soon-to-launch service will only confuse consumers.
In an English language translation of the complaints seen by The Verge and previously reported by The Wrap, Starz argues that Disney’s “Star Plus” service — which will host content from Disney, FX, 20th Century Studios and National Geographic, as well as Star originals — sounds too phonetically similar to its own StarzPlay offering also available in the regions where it filed its complaints.
Starz, a premium cable offering and streaming app, has been operating under the name since the mid-1990s and now has a presence in 58 countries. Its own service, StarzPlay, has been available in Latin America since 2019. Disney’s Star — a service offered in international markets and nested within Disney Plus — officially launched in December. Star+, meanwhile, is set to launch as a single service offering in Latin America on August 31st.
Starz claims Disney’s “Star Plus” sounds too similar to its own StarzPlay service
“Both companies are currently direct competitors in the Mexican market, which causes an unfair competition to materialize, especially if it is considered that we are talking about the same services,” the complaint filed in Mexico states.
Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Starz said the company “had no choice but to defend its rights and attempt to forestall any further customer confusion by filing trademark infringement suits” in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina against Disney for its use of “Star” and various iterations of the service title.
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company announced in May that its Star+ service would officially roll out to consumers at the end of August. At the time, Diego Lerner, president of The Walt Disney Company Latin America, said in a statement that the service would deliver “a never-before-seen customized experience.”
“The strength of the content, that will include all of ESPN, makes Star+ a unique and relevant offering with its own identity that will become a recognized digital service, independent from Disney Plus,” Lerner said. “Having said that, its arrival will represent a service that is complementary to Disney Plus and it will consolidate The Walt Disney Company’s presence in Latin America’s streaming market.”