Superman may fly but apparently Clark Kent does not drive a Chevy. DC Comics seems prepared to do battle over Chevy’s attempted registration of the CAMERO KRYPTON and KRYPTON trademarks for a secret project.
In Greek, krypton roughly translates as “the hidden one” and is a chemical element with symbol Kr and atomic number 36. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless noble gas that is found in trace amounts in the atmosphere. Enough science for today…let’s get to cars and comics. While Superman was first introduced in 1938, it wasn’t until 1943 that the KRYPTON and KYPTONITE trademarks started being used with the Man of Steel. Kryptonite is a fictional material used to weaken Superman’s powers; Krpyton was Superman’s home planet. Over the years, DC Comics has used many variations of the mark including KRYPTO THE SUPERDOG. The mark has become almost as famous as Superman and DC Comics owns several register trademarks for the KYRPTON marks.
Back in May, Chevy filed trademark registration applications for both KRYPTON and CAMERO KRYPTON in a class that covers automobiles. Since this time there has been a lot of speculation about what this name is about. Some people speculated that it was a tie-in with the new Batman v. Superman movie due out next year (clearly not the case now) and other people have speculated that it is the name of a special edition car or color of car set to be released in 2016. While the project still remains mysterious, what is not mysterious is the fight over the name.
Just yesterday, DC Comics filed for extensions of time to oppose the issuance of Chevy’s two trademarks. This is the usual first step that provides the parties more time to discuss a settlement, for DC Comics to prepare its opposition to the trademarks or for DC Comics to reevaluate its position on the marks. While krypton is just an element, DC Comics’ use of the mark has become very famous. Many people, when asked if they thought that the Camero Krypton was associated with DC Comics or Superman would likely say yes. Just based on all the rampant speculation that the care was a tie-in with the new DC Comics movie lends weight to this argument. If DC Comics formally opposes the marks, and the parties are unable to reach a compromise, the Trademark Office must decide if the names are confusingly similar and if most people would associate the KRYTPON mark on a car with DC Comics and its trademarks.
This is a collosal sized battle about to begin over the KRYPTON trademarks and we will have to wait to see if Chevy backs down from the request, a settlement is reached or the sides battle it out.