Is the use of Superman in your business title an infringement ?

Asked about 1 year ago - 10280

I am thinking of staring a business venture with the name of "Man to Superman"

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Got the response i was looking for, Thats very sweet of all of you! thanks a Lot.

Attorney answers (9)

  1. Andrew Endicott Schrafel

    Contributor Level 14

    8

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Unless you are independently wealthy and have several $100,000 to burn, i don't think it is worth your time perusing.

    Whatever profit you might make before DC discovers your use will be gone in a heartbeat due to litigation costs, whether or not you ultimately win.

  2. Frank Anthony Natoli

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . My colleagues already admonished you here. I would only add that it is important to understand that anytime you use a very famous trademark or endeavor to create an association with a famous enterprise like the Superman franchise, you run the risk of being sued by their hyper-aggressive attorneys often even when there may be some fair use defense.

    I suggest you consult a lawyer in private before jumping in here.

    Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC
    (see Disclaimer)

    The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the... more
  3. Maurice N Ross

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . This depends on the context---it is conceivable that you could use the phrase Superman in a manner that does not violate the Superman trademark. You would need to use the name in a manner that avoids consumer confusion and avoids any suggestion of an official association between your business and the famous Superman character. I am having a hard time at the moment conjuring up examples that would avoid consumer confusion but I am sure there are some.

    But while it is theoretically conceivable, as a practical matter this would be taking an enormous financial risk. The owners of the trademark and copyright in the Superman character are notoriously aggressive in pursuing claims for infringement. Unless you have a substantial war chest for litigation, this would be a very bad idea.

  4. Christopher Gary Todd

    Contributor Level 11

    3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . The fact that you asked this question demonstrates your knowledge of copyright and the fact you would likely be pursued by DC for infringement. Much more information would need to be given before a sound legal opinion could be given, but rest assured if DC comes after your fledgling business for infringement you will either: 1) be out the cost of advertisement and materials should you choose to comply with a cease and desist letter; or 2) be out significant sums fighting an infringement action.

    The answer(s) herein do not constitute the establishment of an attorney/client relationship, nor are they intended... more
  5. Glen Nuttall

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . The sure thing with your proposal is that you will get sued. I think you may have some decent arguments against trademark infringement, and some marginal arguments against copyright infringement (depending on the factual details), but your odds on prevailing in the lawsuit probably are not great. I agree that it's a catchy wordplay that would be great to use, but the fact is that much of the value in the phrase "man to superman" comes from our country's 80-odd years of fascination with the character Superman.
    My take - don't do it. Your fledgling enterprised will get buried in legal bills - and you'll most likely have to change your brand in the end.

    (949) 390-2717 - Of course there's more to it! Plus, we don't have an attorney-client relationship. This brief... more
  6. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Naming a company "Man to Superman" infringes the trademark rights that DC Comics owns in the word "Superman."

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
  7. Bruce E. Burdick

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Pick another name. SUPERMAN is already taken, and you know it. You are just asking for a legal battle if you pick MAN TO SUPERMAN for a servicemark or business name. You would likely be subject to civil suit under both 15 USC 1114 and 15 USC 1125 and well as state trademark and unfair competition laws.

    As a second comer, you have a legal duty to avoid confusion as to source or affiliation with the user of any prior mark, and the more famous the prior mark the greater the duty and the greater the likelihood of confusion. You can't seriously think you are complying with that legal duty, can you?

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more
  8. Mark Raafat Malek

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . It seems to me that every attorney here agrees that your proposed use would infringe the DC Comics trademarks. I can almost guarantee that they would not take kindly to your proposed use.

  9. Dariush G. Adli

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Short Answer: Most likely, the answer is YES. You need to consult with a trademark attorney to consider your options regarding any suitable variations or alternatives that may be available to you. Good Luck.

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