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(Boing Boing)   Marvel and DC comics claim they invented the word "Super-Hero" and are trying to trademark the word, so they can file lawsuits to put other comic book companies out of business   ( divider line
    More: Stupid  
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11507 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Mar 2006 at 12:16 AM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

195 Comments     (+0 »)

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2006-03-19 10:03:07 AM  
What about Super-Duper-Hero? Can I tm that one? Everyone knows that Super-Duper is way better than just Super, even my five year old son.
2006-03-19 10:11:38 AM  
What a bonehead mess, Why screw over the little guy? Who do they think they are Microsoft?
2006-03-19 10:12:40 AM  
Aren't they about 10 years late on this? "Indie" comics are pretty much the same kind of corporate levithans (interested more in movie deals and plastic toys) that Marvel an DC are now anyhow.

What's with companies almost tyranical approach to trademark these days anyhow?
2006-03-19 10:21:26 AM  
When I see this reported by a credible news source, I'll worry. Until then I'll just wonder how long it will be until Batman and Wolverine are in every single book.
2006-03-19 10:29:08 AM

I'll take the case!
2006-03-19 10:40:45 AM  
And ask the Kleenex and Jacuzzi people about protecting your word. Xerox is freaking out over people using the word too much.

I heard the same thing about Tivo. Tivo gives away their product to every media mogul on the planet, gets tons of free press on it, and now is freaking out because everyone "Tivoes" their programs rather than "records on a Digital Video Recorder".

/A Dumpster? I wishiathis is a TrashCo Portable Trash Receptacle
//First thing that came to my mind when I read this article.
// 0tt0 rulz!!!111!!
2006-03-19 10:53:44 AM  
I don't like to brag too much but my ancestors invented the question mark.
2006-03-19 10:54:44 AM  
Marvel and DC are Asshats™

Asshats is a trademark of, LLC
2006-03-19 11:07:22 AM  
Remember when Harley-Davidson tried to copyright the sound of their motorcycle?


The judge threw that out too.
2006-03-19 11:19:35 AM  

Sorry for the late reply. But, yeah, you can trademark words in the dictionary. Look for the little circle-R on "Ivory" soap, "Kudos" snackbars, "Planters" peanuts, etc. the next time you go to the grocery store. Thousands of words in the dictionary are trademarked.
2006-03-19 11:22:48 AM  
A copyrightable work is copyrighted the minute it's set down in a tangible medium. No statute of limitations necessary.
2006-03-19 11:38:26 AM  
I am going to trademark
2006-03-19 11:47:41 AM  
Hypnotoad: Sorry, i confused copyright with trademark, my bad.

Ahem! so, like i was intending to say, TRADEMARKS should have a statute of limitations. :P
2006-03-19 11:57:22 AM  
Lots of little legal pitfalls you can fall into when pubbing your own books these days. I should know.

You can skate by their copyrights easily enough, however. There's no copyright on "superpowered heroes" or "superpowered terrorists" so those are the terms I use.
2006-03-19 11:57:54 AM  
Also, with those trademarked words, those are specific names of specific products. Whats at issue is the trademark of a general word that describes a more or less broad idea. It'd be like if planters wanted to trademark the term peanut.

Also, any IP farkers in here, in order to trademark something, don't you essentially have to prove that you created it? Like DC and Marvel would have to prove that they exclusively came up with the term 'super-hero'.
2006-03-19 12:06:49 PM  
I'm going to trademark the word trademark,
Think about it.
I'll be rich.

Also: Dear Marvel, I've been a faithful customer for 20 years and I never thought I'd have to say this, not even when you had that whole stupid Spider-Man clone storyline, or when you had that lame ass plot device to bring back the Age of Apocalypse, I've always remained in good faith, but all I can say now is: Eat a dick.

Seriously, eat a dick, especially you Joe Quesada, fark I hate the guy. YOU SUCK QUESADA! Anyone read NYX? What a pile of shiat. Painkiller Jane? Oh and you created Valiant Comics.. THAT was a laugh.

PS: If anyone wants to read it,
Spider-Man drug free comic reviews, by yours truly:'
(IF you've got nothing better to do. Really quite possibly some of the worst Marvel comics I've read in my life.)
2006-03-19 12:10:26 PM  
This could be the most life-changing Supreme Court Decision in my lifetime. I haven't been this distraught since Mad Magazine's Don Martin sued me for half of my my vast financial holdings in the case of The People vs. Boy Belching "BRRRRRAPPPPPP!" in MAD issue #179, Dec 1975, Page 11.
2006-03-19 12:41:19 PM  
I don't see this as any different from any other trademark. Facial tissues have existed for a long time, but Kleenex wanted to differentiate their version of it. Well, heroes gifted with special powers have existed for thousands of years (like Achilles) and DC and Marvel wanted to differentiate their version of it. Some trademarks are so strong that we don't even realize it's a brand name. I call all facial tissues (Puffs, generic, etc.) "Kleenex." I call all heroes gifted with special powers "Superheroes." Just because it caught on, doesn't mean it's not a trademark.

If someone can prove that "superhero" was in common usage to describe heroes with special powers before DC and Marvel started using the word, then I think that person has a great case that the trademark is a nullity. But I have no idea whether this is the case, I know squat about comic books.
2006-03-19 12:42:19 PM  
I guess this means Marvel and DC are really super-villians.

2006-03-19 12:54:23 PM  
Let me try that again:


Oh, and not to threadjack, but while we're on the subject of supah-heroes, the V For Vendetta movie was totally sweet.
2006-03-19 01:22:53 PM

I'm a superhero, Mother. An effete British superhero.
2006-03-19 01:26:06 PM

Don't mess with the volcano my man, 'cause I will go Pompeii on your... butt.
2006-03-19 01:27:14 PM

Pull my finger.
2006-03-19 01:28:41 PM
We've got a blind date with Destiny - and it looks like she's ordered the lobster.
2006-03-19 01:30:07 PM  
mungo: Is it 2009 already? That was some saturday night at the St Paddy's parade!
2006-03-19 01:31:25 PM

The police ruled my father's death a suicide. They said he fell down an elevator shaft. Onto some bullets.
2006-03-19 01:55:22 PM  
Thank you, comics industry, for truly being your own death.

Meaningless lawsuits, unending floods of crappy spin-offs and restarts, pointless merchandising...

... and they wonder why people aren't buying as many comics. All this other bullcrap has jacked up the prices so high that few people can feel justified in being a regular reader.
2006-03-19 02:07:34 PM  
I really used to like Marvel comice. I never read DC, except for that 'Batman: Legends of the Dark Night' comic I got conned into buying when it first came out. Both companies seemed to be plagued with complete douchebags for management since their inception. I dont see how they dont realize that if they win this, everybody will completely farking hate them, probably boycott their companies and other comic companies will simply start calling their supers heroes other things.

2006-03-19 02:09:38 PM  
Quantum Apostrophe

mungo: Is it 2009 already? That was some saturday night at the St Paddy's parade!

Damn Right!

Though my ass still thinks it's 1999
2006-03-19 02:17:52 PM  
OK, last one.
Cathedralmaster, trademarks are not governed by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. They are regulated under the Commerce Clause. No need to rewrite :)
2006-03-19 02:20:43 PM  
And by that I mean, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. Sheesh. Cause, yeah, Article I, Section 8 is the commerce clause.
2006-03-19 03:01:56 PM  
This is the guy that invented the word "Super-Hero":
2006-03-19 04:04:49 PM  
that IS the guy that invented the word superhero, computer wizard
2006-03-19 04:46:53 PM  
thisispete: They shouldn't be now that Australia has a free trade agreement with the US. It is American policy that the parties to such agreements must bring their IP law into line with the US or there's no deal - so a 75 year term instead of 50 years.

I don't know. I don't think that's the way it works though, because you can get that and a lot of other things apparently that are only 50+. I don't know if what you stated means that they have to pull their laws into accordance with ours. Seems like a bad deal, being that our laws change and do not necessarily take their needs into consideration.

I don't know whether they apply the provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act about outlawing the circumvention of copy-protection devices. The Australian courts have, for example, given multizone DVD players the ok. I think the DMCA is pretty stupid, myself, because it interferes with fair-use rights and makes it an offence to circumvent a copy protection device even if the material protected by a device is itself in the public domai

I know that different signers of the DMCA interpet it in different ways. It is pretty useless because here you have the French saying it means one thing and then you have Australia saying another entirely. This is why earlier on in the thread I urged people to publish out of country. The issue is doing research on the protocols of the country you wish to publish in, and then figuring out what their stance is on the DMCA and US copyright law. Its my opinion that things in the United States now are so open ended they are almost arbitrary. I really can't see everyone else falling into lockstep with that, especially since our laws concerning IP are under constant evaluation of late.
2006-03-19 05:25:06 PM  
I lost a LOT of respect for Marvel after what they tried to pull with City of Heroes, though it did cut down on the rediculous copycat heroes; Teh Hulk, Tha Holk, The Hvlk, etc. This, well, this does nothing but bolster my contempt for Marvel.
2006-03-19 05:54:59 PM  
marvel and dc are real companies? i thought they were comic?
2006-03-19 06:13:58 PM  

Ok all you nutcases out there here's your chance to be a superhero.(pops)

They might as well have put an ad that said "WANTED: people to make complete asses of themselves so we can point and laugh at you and turn it into a TV show." What a bunch of dicks.
2006-03-19 11:37:28 PM  
kythri: Is Warren Ellis still breathing my air?

He needs to stop pretending to be anything other than the two-bit hack that he is, and go pick out his coffin.

I now prove you wrong with one word: Transmetropolitan.

Feel free to go leap into traffic now.
2006-03-20 01:23:27 AM  
Insert Generic post
2006-03-20 02:06:40 AM  
Marvel's so great though. I mean they brought classic Marvel characters to movies. Like Daredevil. And Electra. And the first Punisher with Dolph.

And DC did an awesome job with Batman's nipples. And Superman v. Richard Pryor.

I mean, obviously they deserve all the piles of cash coming to them for delivering these masterpieces.

/Forgot to mention Howard the Duck
//didn't forget to vomit on self
2006-03-20 05:45:28 AM  
According to the U.S. Trademark site, the only trademark they currently hold is specifically for use on costumes...or am I reading it wrong? Do a search for "super-hero". Only ten come up, only one for Marvel/D.C. that's still "live"...unless the search function is not listing all of them, for some reason.
2006-03-20 05:49:11 AM  
Nevermind. They own the plural, not the singular.
2006-03-20 12:45:38 PM
And Super Heroes come to feast
To taste the flesh not yet deceased
And all I know is still the beast is feeding.
2006-03-20 09:33:55 PM  
well i invented the word assbag and i hereby put them on notice for infringment caused by there very existance.
2006-03-28 05:54:25 AM  

Late, and probably won't be read, but:

Transmetroplitan sucked ass.

Fear and Loathing sucked, Hunter S. Thompson sucks, Warren Ellis sucks.
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