In a surprising turn of events, DC Comics has lost a trademark infringement lawsuit over the name of its iconic superhero, Superman to a food and beverage company based in Surabaya, according to several news outlets. The company based in Surabaya, Marxing Fam Makmur, is said to hold the intellectual property rights, having registered its trademark in 1993 and renewed it when necessary.
In April 2018, DC Comics filed the lawsuit with the argument that Marxing had acted in bad faith in registering the trademark of a brand well-known globally without permission, according to various media reports. An appeal by DC Comics against the lawsuit outcome was allegedly also rejected by the Supreme Court in Indonesia for being blurry and unclear. Marketing Interactive has reached out to DC Comics for a statement.
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Under Marxing’s sister company Siantar Top, the Superman brand comprises a range of range of snack products such as chocolate wafers. The company, which currently has a following of 15,000 on Instagram, also sells other snack brands, namely Tic Tic, Go! Potato, Spix, Goriorio, French Fries, Twistko, Suki, and Enaak.
The most recent post featuring its Superman products in March has garnered 84 likes at the point of writing, with many commentators pointing out the likeness of the brand’s character to DC Comics’ superhero.
DC Comic is not the only company to have lost an iconic name to a much smaller player. In February, McDonald’s lost its “Big Mac” trademark in the European Trademark Court, inviting a tongue-in-cheek jab by Burger King Sweden. In July last year, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore also rejected a lawsuit from adidas to stop Taiwan-based Lutong Enterprise Corp from registering its trademark after finding “confusing similarity” in Lutong’s logo and in relation to clothing, footwear and headgear. In 2015, sportswear giant Nike lost a trademark battle against Penang-based apparel and footwear company Southern Rubber Works over the latter’s trademark of “Classic Jazz Star”. Nike, which owns the iconic Converse brand, argued that it bears similarity to the “Converse All Star” basketball shoes.
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