Marvel and DC Comics co-operate over very few things. Bad feeling since the Quesada/Jemas days put pay to any crossover projects. But one thing they do co-operate over is defending the use of the phrase “super hero” in the title of – well, anything not published by Marvel or DC.
As it stands there are trademarks that both Marvel and DC are working together to challenge for Silicon Super Heroes by David Martini. Jason Brodie for Super Hero Battleground. Andrew Jones for Superhero Ellie. And plenty more.
And while, in the wake of such legal opposition, the tendency may be to fold, one man did not.
And instead, Marvel and DC Comics have folded.
British businessman Graham Jules was challenged by Marvel and DC over his self-help manual Business Zero to Superhero in 2014.7
That’s usually when most people back down. But Jules didn’t. He read a book on intellectual property law and challenged Marvel and DC over the claim.
Remarkably, Marvel and DC then changed tack and he was offered £2000 to change the title.
And now, four days before a planned hearing at the Intellectual Property Office in London, Marvel and DC have dropped out for “commercial reasons”.
In the past, books like Super Hero Happy Hour changed its name to Hero Happy Hour after such threats, in the claim to the words were upheld in 2009 by the US.
The legitimacy of the claim by Marvel and DC has often been challenged by commentators and many believe it would fail now.
By dropping the case, Marvel and DC avoid any judgment that others could then use against Marvel and DC. But it does also suggest that all someone has to do is let the case go to an official body and they’ll win.
Or even, just take the money when it’s offered. It’s possibly worth doing just for that.
Here’s an interview with him when the case first came up two years ago…