Up until now the Wimpy Kid’s adventures have stayed out of court. But that changed on Tuesday with the filing of a trademark infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts against Antarctic Press, publishers of Diary of a Zombie Kid. Wimpy Kid, Inc., a company owned by author Jeff Kinney, charged the defendant with eight counts of “blatantly” infringing its intellectual property and diluting its trademarks by publishing, advertising, and distributing its books. In addition to punitive damages, among the remedies that Wimpy Kid seeks is the destruction of all Diary of a Zombie Kid books and any other infringing materials.
In the filing, Wimpy Kid noted that since the publication of the first book in April 2007 it has rapidly become a “cultural phenomenon,” selling more than 52 million copies, with merchandising that includes T-shirts, hats, action figures, swimwear, and board games. It calls Diary of a Zombie Kid “a counterfeit, copy, and/or colorable imitation.”
Abrams, which has published all six books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, declined to comment on the lawsuit. At press time, PW was unable to reach Joe Dunn, publisher of Antarctic Press in San Antonio, Tex., or Antarctic’s counsel, copyright attorney William E. Maguire.
As of this week, the sixth book in the Wimpy Kid series, Cabin Fever, looks to be heading to the top of the chart for bestselling holiday titles, beating out Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs. Diary of a Zombie Kid is currently #50 in comics and graphic novels on Amazon, and according to Nielsen BookScan the book has sold over 5,500 copies since its released in August. Antarctic Press has announced a sequel slated to be released on January 10, called Rotten Rules.
This is the second trademark lawsuit to be filed by a popular children’s book franchise this year. Earlier CCA&B, publishers of The Elf on the Shelf tried to stop Adams Media’s parody, The Elf off the Shelf.