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DC Comics is trying to block a trademark application by the singer Rihanna, who is seeking to protect the mark “Robyn.”

Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, wants to launch an online publication using the “Robyn” name.

Roraj Trade, LLC, which holds Rihanna’s numerous trademarks for items including umbrellas, purses, nightshirts, perfume, and calendars, applied to register the “Robyn” mark in June, 2014. The list of proposed Robyn trademarks can be found here.

Dynamic Duo

DC submitted its notice of opposition in May. It states:

Because of DC Comics’ shepherding and careful development of the Batman character and his universe and of the things and people that populate that universe, Batman has become associated with certain names, marks and indicia which, in the public mind, are inextricably linked with the Batman character and which function as trademarks, both for literary and entertainment works featuring Batman and related characters and for various goods and services, such as clothing, for which Opposer has licensed others to use these marks.

Among the names, marks and indicia inextricably linked in the public mind with the Batman character is the name and mark ROBIN (“Opposer’s Mark”). The ROBIN character, introduced in 1940, is one of the most prominent figures DC comic book universe. As the longstanding sidekick of Opposer’s world-famous BATMAN character, ROBIN has appeared alongside BATMAN for decades, together forming the “Dynamic Duo.”

The Boy Wonder’s trademarks include those for an action figure (1984) and a comic book (1995).

DC claims that:

Based on the similarity of the marks and goods and services, consumers are likely to be deceived into falsely believing that the goods offered by Applicant under Applicant’s Mark originate from or are otherwise associated with or endorsed by Opposer, or that there is some relationship between Applicant and Opposer or the goods of Applicant and Opposer, all to Opposer’s injury and harm.

Rihanna and her company have 40 days to respond to DC’s filing. The matter will proceed in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), and the TTAB’s decisions may be further appealed.

Thus, it may be some time before the matter is finally resolved.

The case is DC Comics against Roraj Trade LLC, and the Notice of Opposition may be found here.

Takeaway

Companies need to protect their valuable marks from dilution, even when the risk of consumer confusion appears far-fetched.

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Photo Attribution: “Rihanna-brisbane-cropped” by Gemma Mary from Gympie, Australia — Rihanna. Under  licence CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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