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Together, copyright and trademark law protect the intellectual property of a company—sometimes providing alternative means of protecting the same asset. For example, Disney owns copyrights for various Mickey Mouse images and related works, as well as trademarks for the Mickey Mouse name and design marks featuring images of the character. Because the copyright grant is of limited duration, while the duration of a trademark is potentially unlimited, some suggest—and hope—that trademark law can be used to protect famous characters even after their copyright protection expires. The recent decision in Fleischer Studios v. A.V.E.L.A., 2012 WL 7179374 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 14, 2012), involving the cartoon character Betty Boop, casts some doubt as to the potential success of that strategy, at least in certain circumstances.

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