27 March 2019Trademarks

Sony battles DC Comics over ‘Zero Hour’ TM

Sony has filed a petition to cancel DC Comics’ trademark for its 1994 comic book series "Zero Hour".

The DC mark (US number 1874656) was registered in 1995. The previous year, the publisher had released its "Zero Hour" comic book series, a limited edition crossover series that incorporated a number of popular DC characters including Batman and Superman.

The cancellation  petition, filed on March 21, comes after the technology company published the "Firewall Zero Hour" video game for its PlayStation console last August.

In December 2017, Sony filed a trademark application (US number 87713622) for the title. The US Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application in September last year as the examiner found it was likely to cause confusion with DC’s mark.

Sony has now taken its fight to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, claiming that DC has not shown sufficient use of the mark in the period since it was registered.

“There is no intent to resume use [of the DC mark] in connection with an ongoing series of comic book”, the petition claimed.

Sales of a series published in 1994 cannot be considered “continuous” use of the mark, according to Sony.

WIPR has contacted Sony and DC for comment.

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