DC Comics Sues T-shirt Company Over Superman Logo
DC Comics filed a trademark lawsuit against clothing manufacturer Mad Engine, claiming the company used the Superman shield on a T-shirt without proper licensing.
Notably, the T-shirt produced by Mad Engine without license is not an exact match of the registered Superman logo. The logo on the T-shirt features a similar shape and design of the Superman shield, as well as the red and yellow color scheme on a blue backing, but instead of the “S” inside the shield, it reads “dad.”
Under California and federal laws, DC Comics is suing for trademark and copyright infringement, dilution, false advertising and unfair competition, calling the T-shirt’s emblem “substantially similar” to the licensed trademark, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“DC Comics’ copyrighted Shield Design consists of a bordered five-sided shield in red and yellow, with the text inside the shield sized and positioned according to the proportions and shape of the shield,” states the complaint. “The shield design on the defendant’s infringing T-shirt incorporates each of these elements.”
The lawsuit brings the delicate issue of licensing to the surface. While licensed promotional products are on trend at the moment, this lawsuit indicates just how careful distributors must be when it comes to licensing laws for its own products.
DC Comics called for Mad Engine to stop selling the T-shirt in a letter on June 1, but says the company did not respond to the letter until June 19, which DC Comics believes to be an intentional decision made in order to sell the T-shirt through Father’s Day.
The T-shirt was available in Target and on the store’s website, but Target is not involved in the lawsuit.