Holy hashtag problems, Batman! DC Comics is up against a new supervillain, as someone has filed a registration for the #JOKERREVOLUTION trademark that seems to be associated with Batman character.
Hashtags can be trademarks. And trademarks can be hashtagged. It has been found that using someone’s trademarks as a hashtag can be infringement. For example, if you are selling a competitor or an imitation of a Gucci bag on Instagram, if you use the #Gucci hashtag to attract attention to your offer of sale, it has been considered trademark infringement. You can also file a trademark registration for a hashtag.
On September 25, 2019, just a few days before the release of the Joker movie, Tra Getting of Kansas (not Smallville) filed a trademark registration application for the #JOKERREVOLUTION trademark in a class covering t-shirts. The registration was filed by something called the Intellectual Property Center. I am not sure what this is since its website has a section for “Our Firm” but there are no attorneys listed. The “attorney“ listed on the trademark filing refused to give his bar number, year of admission, or state. Even stranger, the “attorney” did not sign the registration application, the applicant did.
Getting operates a website called jokerrevolution.com that I cannot even begin to explain its purposes. There are references to Batman and Gotham on the website so it is clear that the trademark has something to do with DC Comics’ Joker character. The site even uses the #JOKERREVOLUTION trademark with the registered trademark symbol. The mark is far from registered and DC Comics wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.
On March 31, 2020, DC Comics through its filed its opposition to the mark claiming that it is confusingly similar to its registered JOKER and JOKER’S HEIST marks. The Joker was first introduced as a character way back in 1940 and there is no doubt that this is a strong mark associated with DC Comics. Due to the strength of the mark and Getting’s reference to the Batman universe on its website, this trademark will not go through. I highly doubt that Getting will even answer the opposition. Makes me wonder why such a mark was even filed in the first place because the law firm should have seen through research that Getting was trying to associate his mark with the Joker character. Maybe that is why the attorney did not sign the trademark application. Hmmm, makes sense now.