As BoingBoing notes
, with earlier info here
), Marvel Comics
is again flexing its muscles and asserting that it co-owns (with DC Comics
) a trademark on the term "super heroes"
- this time in the publicity for its "Marvel Super Heroes Science Exhibition."Marvel
have been claiming and attempting to enforce this "trademark" for many years. According to this link
(one of several) from the US Patent and Trademark Office's "Trademark Application and Registration Retrieval system," Marvel
claim a "First Use in Commerce Date" of October 1966. Most knowledgeable folks aggree that this claim is bogus on many levels, but that hasn't stopped the USPTO
from allowing the publishers to register the claim successfully
over the past few decades. Digging around the archives via TESS
reveals that all TM claims aren't automatically registered - some are denied. But from what I can tell, they've never denied Marvel
Apparently, just because the USPTO
allows you to register a trademark doesn't actually mean that they're endorsing your claim's validity - they're just aggreeing that, well, you've made the claim (tax dollars at "work," folks!). I suppose if someone with deep enough pockets and stamina to spare were to take Marvel
to court over this, the claim's bogus nature would be revealed and overcome. But until then, these two "super-gorillas"
continue to throw their imagined weight around.Thanks to several folks at the Comics Scholars Discussion List for helping me figure out what I think is going on in this situation. Caveat lector: I ain't no lawyer!
Labels: DC Comics, law, Marvel Comics, publishing, superheroes