Saturday, July 27, 2013
X-Men superheroes unable stop pirate trademark in Vietnam
Marvel Characters, Inc., the US owner of the X-MEN franchise has filed a lawsuit at the Hanoi People’s Court against the Vietnam National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) over the registration of a trademark covering personal care products. However the court rejected the cancellation case involving International Consumer Products Corporation (ICP), a local company. The mark was registered in 2005 for shampoo and shower gel.
Marvel claimed the mark was similar to their own, albeit for different goods, and so was misleading. However the decision was reported to be on the basis that Marvel failed to provide evidence that X-Men is a registered trademark.
Marvel did have an earlier registration for goods in other classes such as 9, 16, 25 & 28. Unfortunately the NOIP did not recognize the well-known status for X-MEN nor their rights in copyright for X-MEN characters.
The latter copyright point might go to bad faith but seems peripheral to the trademark arguments. However IP Komodo is a little surprised the evidence was insufficient to prove fame and thus dilution.