DC Comics is attempting to prevent the singer/actress Rihanna from registering a trademark for "Robyn," arguing that it's too similar to the name of Batman's sidekick.
As first reported by Pirated Thoughts and The Outhousers, Rihanna -- born Robyn Rihanna Fenty -- filed the trademark application in June 2014 as part of a larger effort to build a fashion and cosmetics empire (she also filed an application for her last name). "Robyn" is intended to be used for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines," which apparently sent up a red flag for DC's lawyers.
An official opposition to the application was filed last week with the United States Trademark and Patent Office, arguing that "consumers are likely to be deceived" into believing any products marked "Robyn" originated with DC Comics. It's a fairly standard argument regarding potential confusion in the marketplace and trademark dilution, this time involving Robin the Boy Wonder, characterized by the publisher as "one of the most prominent figures DC comic book universe."
We saw similar situations last year, when Disney moved to stop DJ/producer Deadmau5 from trademarking his signature "mau5head" logo, and DC filed a complain with the European Union’s Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market regarding a Spanish soccer team's bat logo (in the latter case, the team abandoned the stylized emblem).
An opposition to an applications is initially considered by trademark examining attorneys, but may be appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a body established by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Judgments of the TTAB may in turn be appealed in federal court.
Rihanna and her company Roraj Trade LLC have 40 days from the date of DC's filing to respond to the opposition.