“As so often, aggressive IP lawyers trumped smart business strategy”

Virginia Postrel says Marvel Comics did itself no favors recently by taking a tough negotiating stance over The Atlantic’s proposed cover use of one of its images. (Sept. 6). I had no idea anyone was asserting trademark rights over the word superhero. (Corrected Sept. 10 to fix error about how The Atlantic was going to use the image — see comments.)


  • Marvel and DC co-own the trademark of superhero (or actually “Super Hero”). One trademark gives them that on publications, especially comix. A second gives them for “toy figures, belts, and costumes”. They’ve had it since 1979.

  • The Atlantic didn’t want the image for its cover, just as an illustration for the column. My 1,500-word pieces don’t rate covers.