DC Comics VS Mad Engine: Dawn Of Copyright Lawsuit

Intellectual Property: In general terms, intellectual property is any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by others.  The ownership of intellectual property inherently creates a limited monopoly in the protected property.  Intellectual property is traditionally comprised of four categories:  patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets. – Wex Legal Dictionary

On July 20, 2015, DC Comics filed a lawsuit in California federal court against clothing manufacturer Mad Engine for copyright infringement. DC Comics is accusing that the company used an altered version of the iconic Superman S-shield without permission.

While the shirt does feature the familiar red and yellow diamond shape associated with the Man of Steel, it has the word “Dad” in place of the “S”. DC says that Mad Engine didn’t obtain the proper license to make the product, which was sold by Target in its stores and online. Target was not a part of the suit.

According to the claim, DC contacted Mad Engine to stop selling the shirt on June 1. DC states the company didn’t respond until June 19 to give Mad Engine enough time to profit from shirts before Father’s Day (June 21).

DC Comics’ claim states “The shield design on Defendant’s Infringing T-Shirt is substantially similar to DC Comics’ copyrighted Shield Design. DC Comics’ copyrighted Shield Design consists of a bordered five-sided shield in red and yellow, with the text inside the shield sized and positioned according to the proportions and shape of the shield. The shield design on Defendant’s Infringing T-Shirt incorporates each of these elements.”

Did Mad Engine go to far? Or is DC Comics reaching in their claim? Please post your comments below.

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Kevin Gunn

Kevin is married with 4 children and 4 grandchildren. He lives in Louisville, KY. He loves all things related to DC Comics, even movies that get a bad rep like "Batman & Robin" and "Catwoman". Kevin began writing for the site in 2015 as a Staff Writer. His passion for writing stories caught the eye of the editorial staff, and earned him a position as Assistant Editor. He has a degree in Communication from the University of Louisville. His favourite DC hero and villain are Black Lightning and Black Manta respectively. Kevin tries to exemplify being a hero everyday by helping others. Something interesting about him: he was a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune". - Follow him on Twitter - @captsigma