This is the ninth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous eight.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel and DC own the trademark of the word "Super Hero."
Reader Jason asked a question about a Captain America T-Shirt that he had that had a DC copyright on it.
It is likely that Jason's T-Shirt was, in fact, an error.
However, it did remind me of something that DC and Marvel DO share, and that is a trademark on the word "Super Hero."
Here is a copy of the accepted US federal trademark...
Word Mark SUPER HEROESGoods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: PUBLICATIONS, PARTICULARLY COMIC BOOKS AND MAGAZINES AND STORIES IN ILLUSTRATED FORM [(( ; CARDBOARD STAND-UP FIGURES; PLAYING CARDS; PAPER IRON-ON TRANSFER; ERASERS; PENCIL SHARPENERS; PENCILS; GLUE FOR OFFICE AND HOME USE, SUCH AS IS SOLD AS STATIONERY SUPPLY;] NOTEBOOKS AND STAMP ALBUMS )). FIRST USE: 19661000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19661000Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWINGSerial Number 73222079Filing Date July 3, 1979Current Filing Basis 1AOriginal Filing Basis 1APublished for Opposition June 9, 1981Registration Number 1179067Registration Date November 24, 1981Owner (REGISTRANT) Cadence Industries Corporation a.k.a. Marvel Comics Group and DC Comics Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE 575 Madison Ave. New York NEW YORK 10022(LAST LISTED OWNER) DC COMICS PARTNERSHIP BY ASSIGNMENT NEW YORK 1700 BROADWAY NEW YORK NEW YORK 10019
(LAST LISTED OWNER) MARVEL CHARACTERS, INC. CORPORATION BY ASSIGNMENT DELAWARE 10474 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD SUITE 206 LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA 90025
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDEDAttorney of Record JONATHAN D. REICHMANType of Mark TRADEMARKRegister PRINCIPALAffidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20020819.Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20020819Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
DC and Marvel have, since 1981, owned a trademark of the phrase "Super Hero," in regards to publications, toys, costumes and the like.
Todd VerBeek had an interesting column on the topic a year or so ago here.