Marvel and DC Comics may be rivals much like the X-Men and Magneto but sometimes they are on the same side of the fight. Marvel and DC Comics have jointly moved to oppose a trademark registration application for the term SUPERHERO covering food products.
A New Jersey-based individual, Samil Ozavar, filed a trademark application for the SUPERHERO to cover two classes of good covering a ton of food products such as milk, milk drinks containing fruit, milk-based beverage containing coffee, and other food not containing milk. A little Google stalking discerned that Ozavar is involved in the operation of a couple of companies that sell food products. Two big issues here, and why you need a lawyer. First, Marvel and DC Comics own the SUPERHERO trademark and will eviscerate people that try to register it. Second, register your trademark in the name of the company and not yourself individually.
And now, dear readers, it is time to learn some ugly truths! SUPERHERO is a registered trademark owned jointly by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. SUPER HERO is a word that most people think is generic, like KLEENEX or XEROX, but it is not. DC Comics and Marvel, much to the chagrin of many creators, are the owners of both the SUPER HERO and SUPER HEROES marks. Back in 1966, Marvel and DC Comics jointly filed and were granted a trademark registration for the mark SUPER HERO.
The companies have registered several variations of the term over the years. These marks seem to be becoming more and more generic but that isn’t stopping the comic book companies from enforcing their rights. The two comic book giants routinely oppose most trademark applications that contain the mark. The more a trademark becomes generic, the less protection it is entitled to; this is why Marvel and DC Comics are so vigilant in fighting any unauthorized use of the mark.
Marvel and DC Comics argue that if you see the name SUPERHERO on a bottle of milk containing fruit you are bound to confuse it with Marvel and DC’s trademark. The comic book companies have a winning argument here and I expect Ozavar to disappear as quickly as a glass of milk around Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The term is becoming more and more generic and one day there will be a true challenge to the mark.