An Australian federal court has ruled a Melbourne fitness service cannot register the trademark “Superman Workout,” finding the company made the application in bad faith.
DC Comics had appealed a July decision by the registrar of trademarks that Cheqout Pty’s use of “Superman Workout” was unlikely to deceive or confuse consumers, or lead a significant number of people to presume there’s a connection between the fitness classes and the publisher.
However, an attorney for DC argued the registrar erred on several grounds, including finding that the dictionary definitions of Superman are “a muscularly powerful athletic superman” and “an ideal superior being conceived by (19th century German philosopher) Nietzsche as the product of human evolution.” The publisher insisted, however, that its comic-book superhero is so widely known that the Man of Steel has become the first connotation of “Superman.”
According to Stuff.co.nz, Justice Annabelle Bennett agreed, ruling today that, “Indeed, the superhero and his ‘get-up’ are so famous that they could be said to be instantly recognizable, as is, by name, Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent.’’
She determined that, while there was no real danger of confusion by the normal and fair use of the word Superman in relation to the fitness workout, Cheqout Pty went too far in using a shield logo similar to the Man of Steel’s ‘”in order to strengthen the allusion to Superman.”