Sometimes things slip through the cracks, even if they are Hulk-sized. Marvel, after failing to oppose a trademark, has moved to cancel the CANDY HULK trademark claiming it is confusingly similar with their HULK trademark.

Little background on how the trademark registration process goes. Once a proposed registration passes the watchful eye of the Trademark Office it is published for opposition meaning anyone in the world can oppose the registration of the mark if they have a legitimate beef (called standing in the law but beef sounds way better.) As you can imagine, there are a lot of trademarks that get published at the same time, hundreds and sometimes thousands. It is up to trademark owners to review these filings to determine if a mark should be opposed. This means having someone manually look through the marks or a fancy computer program designed to do the same. Either way, it costs big money to review these marks especially when you have so many marks like Marvel. So every once in a while, a couple of marks might not get noticed and opposed. This is one of those marks.

In February 2018, the CANDY HULK mark was published for opposition. The owner of the mark is a China-based company called Huangzongwen (that is all).  Huangzongwen filed the mark to cover “Belts for clothing; Petition for Cancellation; Bonnets; Coveralls; Eyeshades; Footwear; Gloves; Masquerade costumes; Neckerchiefs; Neckties; Pants; Socks; Swimming caps; Swimming costumes; Tops; Underclothes; Underpants; Veils; Wedding dresses; Children’s and infant’s apparel, namely, jumpers, overall sleepwear, pajamas, rompers and one-piece garments”. The CANDY HULK wedding dress just screams class. Huangzongwen submitted the in use specimen of the mark as the photo that can been seen on the left. What kind of clothes that is, who knows? It kind of looks like a t-shirt which is not even on the list of goods covered in the registration. Not sure how this even got passed the Trademark Office. All this seems a bit fishy but the Trademark Office did not pick up on it and neither did Marvel. So the CANDY HULK mark was approved for registration.

Since Marvel failed to oppose the mark it now has to move to cancel the trademark. Basically, Marvel wants the registration rescinded by the Trademark Office. Since at least January 29,1962, Marvel has used its HULK and THE INCREDIBLE HULK trademarks in commerce. First appearing in comic books, the big green guy is now a Hollywood star. Marvel argues that when you see the word CANDY HULK on such things as bonnets (??) you will be confused and think said bonnet is affiliated with or endorsed by Marvel when it is not. Marvel also presents evidence that confusion is even more likely because it distributes candy and candy related products with the HULK trademark on it.

Huangzongwen has to answer the cancellation proceedings and that doesn’t appear too likely. If Huangzongwen doesn’t appear, Marvel wins the cancellation by default. If Huangzongwen does appear, the parties battle it out before the Trademark Office and this will make Marvel very angry and you don’t want to make Marvel angry.