Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mystery Men and Trademarks

Today Marvel publish the first issue of their Mystery Men comic, the title of which has caused some consternation due to the fact that Bob Burden had a comic called Mysterymen some years back–published by Dark Horse–that was subsequently adapted into a film.

We've discussed trademarks on this blog in the past (e.g. here, here, and here). The bottom line is that trademarks are not like copyrights. Basically there is a 'use it or lose it' factor with trademarks; just because you've used a title in the past doesn't mean that someone else can't use it in the future.

A quick search of TESS (the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System) reveals a registered trademark for Marvel:

I could not find a registration for Burden's version (with either spelling), either active or dead. (Note that you don't have to register your trademark to claim it, but it sure helps with enforcement.)

(Dislaimer: I am not a lawyer; I am a librarian at a US Patent & Trademark Depository Library. My comments are my own and do not necessarily represent the view of my employer.)

1 comment:

snell said...

Here's an interview by Bleeding Cool with Burden discussing the issue. Apparently Dark Horse had registered a trademark but let it expire, according to Burden...