The Middle Village resident has been in a trademark settlement battle with Fox and Blue Sky Studios for the last 18 years. It all started as a drawing of a squirrel-rat hybrid animal she created in Madison Square Park.
“It was my child and they kidnapped it,” Silberstein said.
Soon after, Silberstein started creating merchandise for the weird creature, which got noticed by Fox News in March 2000. She was ready to start promoting her new character, when in March 2002 “Ice Age” debuted and Sqrat was on the screen.
“They stole my cartoon because they could,” Silberstein said. “I had a problem with my trademark and when you sue someone, you’re suing for intellectual property which is the trademark.”
Silberstein’s initial trademark was accidentally abandoned by her lawyer in March 2001. They realized the incident in November 2001, but couldn’t get the trademark reinstated. Silberstein had to start all over again and file for a new trademark.
She eventually filed a lawsuit against Fox for copyright infringement. On July 1, 2003, Judge Allen L. Feinstein ruled that Silberstein and Fox were joint copyright owners of the character. Nonetheless, Silberstein prevailed and was able to trademark the name “Sqrat” in June of 2012.
Silberstein went to the Daily News, L.A. Times, Howard Stern, National Enquirer, CNN, and other news organizations to call attention to the fact that Sqrat was hers.
In October of 2019, the Fox-Disney Corporation asked Silberstein if she would like to settle and they came to an agreement in December. Silberstein spent almost 20 years to win the trademark settlement for a cartoon she considers her child.
“I received my principal trademark on July 7, 2020,” she said. “I started May 19, 1999, so this is 21 years it took me to get this.”