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Marvel, DC face US trademark challenge over 'Super Hero' stranglehold

Post Time:2024-05-16 Source:Reuters Author:Blake Brittain Views:

May 14 (Reuters) - A London-based comic-book artist on Tuesday asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel several trademarks covering the term "Super Hero" that are jointly owned by Disney's (DIS.N) Marvel and its main rival, Warner Bros' (WBD.O) DC Comics.

Scott Richold's Superbabies Ltd told a USPTO tribunal that "Super Hero" is a generic term that is not entitled to trademark protection, according to a copy of the petition provided by Superbabies' law firm Reichman Jorgensen Lehman & Feldberg.

Representatives for DC and Marvel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"By challenging these trademarks, we seek to ensure that superheroes remain a source of inspiration for all, rather than a trademarked commodity controlled by two corporate giants," Superbabies' attorney Adam Adler said in a statement.

Marvel and DC jointly own four trademarks covering the terms "Super Hero" and "Super Heroes," the oldest of which dates back to 1967.

petition, DC accused his company of infringement and threatened legal action after it applied for U.S. trademarks covering the "Super Babies" name.

The comic-book giants have cited their marks to oppose dozens of superhero-related trademark applications at the USPTO, according to the office's records.

"DC and Marvel claim that no one can use the term Super Hero (or superhero, super-hero, or any other version of the term) without their permission," the petition said. "DC and Marvel are wrong. Trademark law does not permit companies to claim ownership over an entire genre."

Superbabies also argued that the trademarks are invalid because DC and Marvel cannot own them together.

"It is fundamental that a trademark identifies a single source of goods," the petition said. "Competitors cannot jointly own a trademark."