Trademarking a genre

Ray Felix - World Without SuperheroesHello 2013!

Robot 6 at Comic Book Resources posted an article about Ray Felix’s legal wrangle with DC and Marvel over his use of the word Superhero in the title of his independent comic. Most people will agree that DC and Marvel should not have been allowed to trademark the term Super Hero / Superhero / Super-hero, and yet they did. They got away with it and now enforce it by picking on the little guy. Just try to think of a way to describe the super hero genre in one or two words? That’s why it’s a genre, and not a product. It would be like Disney deciding to trademark the word Cowboy, or Western, because of the Lone Ranger.

This, of course, effects my own project Once Upon A Super Hero, which at this time is nothing more than a preliminary project which is neither marketed or promoted. However, I am clearly going to have to change the name before taking the project any further, even though I considered the usage to clearly be a description, not an infringement. Here’s the article in question. I wish Mr. Felix the best of luck.

Creator tangles with DC and Marvel over ‘super hero’ trademark

This is a reminder of how frustrating the corporate world is. Marvel and DC, like Disney (who now own Marvel), can circumvent laws because they have money. Disney’s early Mickey Mouse short films should be public domain, but the company bought changes to the law. DC and Marvel jointly trademarked a term as if it was a product and are ready to dick over many small publishers who either lack the will or money to fight.

The comic industry is not a healthy market to begin with, but stamping down on the little guy can only make things worse for everyone in the long term.