DC Comics Throws Some Cold Water on "Showerman" Trademark

Showerman is not a superhero that bathes dirty villains but he might be one day and that’s what lead to this trademark dispute. DC Comics has opposed the registration for SHOWERMAN, the logo for a shower door salesman and the illegitimate cousin of Superman.

Showerman is the doing business as name of Mark Balaban, a New Jersey-based individual that sells frameless glass shower doors. On his website, Balaban claims to have a registered trademark for the word mark SHOWERMAN, that is not accurate. Balaban does have a registered mark for the logo and is looking to expand that registration. In April 2017, Balaban filed a registration application for the SHOWERMAN logo, seen above, in a class that covers written materials such as coloring and activity books. This is an intent to use mark meaning that at the time of the filing, Balaban was not yet using the mark on coloring books but has the intent to do so in the future. Showerman is humorously described in the application as” a muscular male character cloaked in a decorative shower curtain who is wearing a sleeveless shirt with an “S”, heart boxer shorts and a tool belt.”

Image of Superman TrademarkThe first story of Superman was published back in 1938 and, arguable, he is the most famous and popular comic book character of all time. DC Comics has been using the trademark ever since. DC Comics owns numerous registered marks for the name, SUPERMAN, the diamond logo, and also some for the look of Superman including the mark that can be seen to the left. DC Comics opposed the SHOWERMAN mark claiming that the mark is similar to DC Comic’s SUPERMAN marks in sight, sound and commercial impression.

Its not hard to see that Superman was clearly the inspiration for Showerman. While this may just be a parody, parody is only a defense to claims of infringement and not a reason to justify a trademark registration. Balaban has the opportunity to fight the opposition, make a deal with DC Comics, or walk away from the application. I don’t think this application has much of a shot so best to settle and fight another day, Showerman.