Orange County - DC Comics on Tuesday hit an operator of two barbershops with a trademark infringement complaint in Florida federal court, saying the shops are ripping off the Time Warner Inc. unit's famous Superman logo trademark.
Reginal Jones, proprietor of Supermen Fades To Fros and Superman Pro Barbershop respectively located in Eatonville, Florida and Winter Park, Florida, is infringing the Superman trademark by the very name of his shops, the complaint says. He also operates an allegedly infringing website for the businesses, located at www.supermenfadestofros.com.
Jones' outdoor signage on the shops incorporates the Superman logo trademark, as do the shirts, aprons and capes that the barbers inside wear. His companies also use a vehicle wrap as advertising that bears the trademarks.
DC owns all trademark rights in its famous superhero characters like Superman, Batman and Wonderm Woman, the revenues from which are substantial, DC says. Each year DC spends "significant sums of money" to develop and maintain the considerable goodwill it has built up in its trademarks and reputation for high quality, according to the comics publisher.
DC has never at any time authorized Jones or the barbershops to use the infringing trademark promotions in conjunction with any sort of hair grooming services, the complaint says.
"Defendants have ignored DC's lawful demands and continue to utilize the infringing promotions in conjunction with the infringing barbershops," it says. "Defendants are using the infringing promotions intentionally with a bad faith intent to profit from them."
There is a high likelihood that Jones' use of the trademarks will cause confusion, mistakes, or deception among consumers as to the barbershops' affiliation with DC, according to the comics company. His use of the infringing promotions blurs the unique association which has heretofore existed between the DC trademarks and the goods and services sold and offered by DC, it says.
Jones has operated his barbershops and offered hair grooming services into interstate commerce willfully with full knowledge of the falsity of the designation of their origin, in an effort to mislead the purchasing public into believing the barbershops are authorized by or emanate from DC, the complaint says.