Two Florida barbershops have been sued by DC Comics over their use of the name “Superman.”
DC Comics owns the rights to the character “Superman,” whom we all know as The Man of Steel who wears a red-and-blue costume, has superpowers and loves Lois Lane. DC Comics makes millions every year from sales of Superman-related toys, television programs, movies and the like.
Naturally, DC Comics does not want that source of revenue jeopardized. That’s why it is claiming that “Superman Pro Barbershop” and “Supermen Fades to Fros” are violating its “Superman” trademark by using the word “Superman” or “Supermen” in their names.
DC Comics wants the barbershops to stop using the names and to destroy any and all materials bearing the names. It also wants the barbershop owners to surrender the domain name supermenfadestofros.com.
The barbershops have not commented publicly on the suit or how they plan to respond.
Although we shouldn’t assume anything until the owners of the barbershops have had to make their cases, looking at the website supermenfadestofros.com makes it a little difficult to see how the owners will argue that they were not infringing on DC Comics’ trademarks. The familiar red and blue palette, diamond symbol and “Superman” name are all there.
That being said, sometimes people do not understand that they are infringing on someone’s intellectual property rights. It would be understandable if the barbershop owners didn’t realize that “Superman” was trademarked. “Superman” is so prevalent a concept they may have mistakenly thought it was in the public domain.
Source: Bloomberg, “DC Comics Sues Florida Barbershop Over ‘Superman’ Marks,” Victoria Slind-Flor, Sept. 27, 2012