Universal Studios has asked a woman in Christchurch, New Zealand to stop branding her cleaning company with characters from the movie Minions.
Bridgit Veenings says she originally named her company “Minions and Me Cleaning Ltd” because her children enjoyed watching Spy Kids when they were young, and particularly liked the character Alexander Minion (played by Tony Shalhoub). She registered her company in October, 2013, two months before Universal trademarked Minions, according to New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz. (The minions characters earlier appeared in the 2010 film Despicable Me) Though she says the name did not come from that animated film, she did use images of the cartoon characters on her van, website and online listings.
Universal has asked Veenings to stop using the images as well as the name; Veenings says she will remove the cartoons, but wants to continue calling her company Minions and Me, noting that the word is “in the dictionary” and explaining, “To me, a minion is a hard-working person that does things that other people generally don’t do.”
A lawyer for Universal told Stuff.co.nz that she couldn’t comment until she had received word from the studio.