DC Comics has won its trademark dispute with a fitness firm over the use of the term “Superman”.
The comic books company holds the rights to the Superman name and has subsequently successfully appealed in the Federal Court against the fitness company’s lodgement of the name in the Register of Trademarks, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Justice Annabelle Bennett considered many uses of the Superman name, including German philosopher Nietzsche’s 1883 concept of an ideal ‘Ubermensch’ (or ‘Super Man’) with super powers who is above the notions of good and evil. However, in the end she sided with DC Comics.
Superman was invented as a comic strip character in 1938 by DC Comics and the company argued that when people hear the name they think of the superhero.
Last July the Registrar of Trademarks ruled that there would be no confusion between the fitness classes and the comic superhero because DC Comics has never run fitness-based classes. Because of that fact the registrar allowed the fitness firm to continue to use the name.
However, DC Comics argued in court that trademarking the Superman name for a fitness exercise would cause confusion and could deceive the public into thinking it had something to do with their superhero. Upon hearing the argument, the judge agreed.
Companies are keen to protect their brands and will do so vigorously should any of their trademarks be infringed.
Trademarking brands and characters in this way is important for firms to ensure their reputation remains intact. Businesses often attempt to benefit from the trademarks of others by using names such as Superman, however, this could cause confusion to the general public who may think the service is associated with the comic book character.
Another comic book character recently won a DC comics trademark dispute, with the latest Batman feature film being cleared of any wrongdoing after it used the name of a real-life computer program in the fictional world.
Judge Philip Simon sided with Warner Bros, who made the film, saying there is major difference between the fictional world of Batman and that of the real world.