Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Candi Henry

First Page



In terms of blockbusters, 1996 was a good year for film. Action-packed movies like Twister, Independence Day, and Mission Impossible competed for ticket sales with popular comedies Jerry Maguire, The First Wives Club, and The Birdcage. The critical favorite, The English Patient, also made a strong showing. Together, those films grossed almost $1.2 billion in domestic ticket sales alone, yet it was the modestly-performing family flick, Muppet Treasure Island that arguably made the biggest impact in entertainment law that year. That impact was not, however, the result of a landmark ruling. Rather, Hormel Foods Corporation v. Jim Henson Productions serves as a case study extolling the benefits of alternative dispute resolution procedures in entertainment law.

This article provides an overview of Hormel and examines its impact on the litigants and in the area of trademark law. Concluding that the case's outcome resulted in less than favorable results for both parties and that the legal determinations made by the court served only to cloud the existing law, this article then explores alternative dispute resolution procedures that might have resulted in more favorable outcomes for the parties.