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A British comic book artist is requesting that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) cancels several of Marvel and DC’s trade marks for the term ‘Super Hero’.

Scott Richold, a comic book artist based in London, has petitioned to the USPTO for the marks to be cancelled on the basis that ‘Super Hero’ is a generic term and therefore not entitled to trade mark protection.

This comes after Richold applied to register a US trade mark for ‘Super Babies’ to be used in relation to comic books featuring a team of super hero babies. As a result of this application, he was accused of trade mark infringement by Warner Bro’s DC Comics.

The terms ‘Super Hero’ and ‘Super Heroes’ are currently protected in the USA by four trade marks, which are jointly owned by DC Comics and Disney’s Marvel. According to Richold’s petition “DC and Marvel claim that no one can use the term Super Hero (or any other version of the term) without their permission”, “DC and Marvel are wrong. Trade mark law does not permit companies to claim ownership of an entire genre”.

It is to be seen whether the USPTO will consider cancelling DC and Marvel’s ‘Super Hero’ trade marks.

If you have any questions on the above, feel free to contact a member of the team at 0191 281 4000 or alternatively at legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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