There have been many comparisons between Jesus and Superman which has been a running theme throughout the comics and movies and this takes it to a new level. DC Comics has defeated an attempt to register a trademark for the word “Jesus” in a diamond that resembles the Superman logo, but the win wasn’t too glamorous.
The first story of Superman was published back in 1938 and since that time he has sported different but similar versions of the Superman logo. The logo is iconic and features the letter “S” in a five-sided diamond. Over the years the colors have changed but mostly remain yellow and red. There is no doubt that the logo is one of the most famous and endearing trademarks in the world. The Superman logo can be seen on about every product imaginable and DC Comics owns several registered trademarks for the logo and copyright registrations for the design. DC Comics is very protective of this logo and has had many battles at the Trademark Office over many diamond logos that DC claims infringes its Superman logo.
In November 2016, Stacey Lane Holmsley filed her own trademark registration (not using a lawyer – see what happens) for the logo that can be seen to the right for t-shirts, decals , temporary tattoos, and other things. This is an intent to use registration meaning the applicant has the intent to use the trademark in the future but is not yet producing merchandise bearing the logo. Holmsley operates a website that sells graphic t-shirts and does not appear to be distributing any merchandise bearing the JESUS trademark. There are currently 2,175 alive or dead trademarks at the USPTO that contain the word “Jesus.” So this trademark is far from unprecedented.
DC Comics filed its opposition to the registration of the JESUS trademark. The Trademark Office will refuse registration of a mark if is confusingly similar to another mark. Here, the test is: would a customer when looking at “Jesus” logo get confused and believe that he is affiliated with or associated with Superman and DC Comics. Sure the diamond looks a lot and there is a big S in the middle but would you think “Jesus” is associated with DC Comics? DC Comics argues that confusion is highly likely and therefore the registration application should be denied.
How did this exciting battle end? Well, Holmsley actually never responded to the opposition and therefore defaulted. So, DC Comics successfully opposed the mark…by default. A win is still a win. Holmsley has some more time to magically appear and revive the application but it doesn’t seem likely. I highly doubt this trademark will rise from the dead.