A UK businessman has defeated Marvel and DC Comics in a case as to who has the rights to use the word ‘Superhero’
Graham Jules is the author of a self-help manual called “Business Zero to Superhero”.
In 2014, he applied for a trade mark for the title of the book at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). His mark was subsequently opposed by Marvel and DC, who jointly own the trade mark ‘Superhero’, claiming trade mark infringement and tried to prevent him from publishing his book.
After a two and half year legal battle, Marvel and DC “admitted defeat” for “commercial reasons”.
The case was due to be heard at a hearing before the IPO in London when the companies withdrew.
Most likely, the move by Marvel and DC will have been taken to avoid a negative legal decision, which might have caused a more negative reaction and cast legal doubt on the validity of the Superhero trade mark.
Whilst this is a great result for Graham, a final decision from the tribunal could have clarified the area of generic marks, like the superhero brand.