Holy Trademarks, Batman! DC Comics Challenges Rihanna’s Trademark Filing

Last week, DC Comics filed a Notice of Opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against the attempt at federal registration of the mark “ROBYN” by hip-hop & pop music superstar Rihanna. In its filing, DC alleges that it faces “damages” in the event Rihanna is able to obtain U.S. trademark registration for the mark.

The parties to the opposition are DC Comics, one of the largest comic book entertainment companies in the U.S., and Roraj Trade LLC, the entertainment entity owned and operated by Rihanna. In the notice, DC Comics claims it has developed an understanding in the public’s mind regarding the name “Robin” and its use in popular culture (particularly, comic books and other entertainment works) since the 1940s. RiRi’s attempting to register the mark “Robyn” in connection with “providing online nondownloadable general feature magazines.”  Rihanna’s full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, so it’s completely valid she is attempting to register the mark.

I guess I can somewhat see the connection between comic books and related publications that could connect to the DC Comics character ‘Robin.’  However, it seems like quite a stretch to say that the average consumer would find it confusing and mistake a Rihanna / Robyn / RiRi magazine for the boy wonder and caped crusader! Seriously, I’m all for DC protecting their IP rights, but this seems like just as bad a move as releasing Batman & Robin upon the world.

What are the options here?  As always, the parties can try to reach some agreement and settle the similarities. Otherwise, Rihanna’s team has 40 days to file a response giving them until June 20, 2015.  The response must contain admissions or denials to each of the allegations made in DC’s filing, in addition to any defenses or counterclaims they want to assert.

However, the biggest question remains as to whether or not pop star Robyn will get involved in the action:

Fingers crossed.

Here’s another one where we will have to wait and see what happens! Hit the comments to sound off your thoughts on this particular trademark issue.

Image credit: Mashup by Franklin Graves of Rihanna on the cover of Elle UK and Batman & Robin from DC Comics’ Batman #1 (1940). No claim made to the images or mashup.