By MARIA DINZEO
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Toymaker Super 7 claims Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment violated its trademark in a new entertainment and merchandising venture called "Stan Lee and the Super Seven." And it claims Lee did so after promising not to.
In its federal complaint, Super 7 says it learned in February that Lee and his company were considering using the Super 7 trademark. But it says POW! Entertainment's attorney assured it that Lee and his company "'decided to move in a different direction and are in the process of developing another mark for their products.'"
However, at the Comic-Con meeting in July, Lee and executives from co-defendants Archie Comics and A Squared Entertainment announced they would be launching a new comic book series called Stan Lee's "Super Seven," complete with "an original made-for-video animated motion picture," according to the complaint.
A press release issued on July 24 stated: "Stan Lee makes his debut as a featured character in 'Super Seven' when he befriends seven aliens who find themselves stranded after their spaceship crashes," the complaint states.
Super 7 claims the new "Super Seven" series will feature a line of products "that are the same as Super 7's offerings and others that are closely related," which it believes will lead to confusion among comic book toy buyers.
It demands compensatory damages, a judgment ordering Lee to stop using Super 7's trademark, and the destruction of all packaging and advertisements bearing the labels "Super Seven" or "Stan Lee and the Super Seven."
Super 7 is represented by D. Peter Harvey and Seth Appel with Harvey Siskind.
If Stan Lee's Super Seven name is older than the Toymaker's Super7 then why would Stan promise to them not to use the name? He could have used Super Eight, or Super Sixers. Maybe those names aren't taken.
I don't think that POW should promise not to use the name (especially if POW is in the right), but I do think they should avoid a lawsuit. Being sued is not good for the share price. I also don't want to see this project get held up because of a name dispute.
It may be the case where Stan's Super Seven is older (copyrightwise) than the Super 7 toy company. But at this point POW, Archie, and A Squared could easily change the name and avoid a lawsuit where the only winners will be the lawyers.
Thank you for your take.
There is something I cannot understand. Lee has teamed with Lieberman, who comes billed as perhaps the pre-eminent intellectual property/entertainment law specialist in the country.
Lee/POWN are being sued for violating another company's trademark--with Lieberman standing by Lee's side acting as his counsel?
Toy company sues Stan Lee and Archie Comics over Super Seven trademark
Posted on August 9, 2010 - 06:00 AM by Kevin Melrose
A toy manufacturer and distributor claims Stan Lee, POW! Entertainment, Archie Comics, A Squared Entertainment and others violated its trademark with the new multimedia series Super Seven -- after two of the companies promised they wouldn't.
Announced in February, Super Seven is a planned comics, animation and online property about seven aliens whose spaceship crashes on Earth, where they're befriended by Lee and resume their lives as superheroes.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, Super7 says its attorney contacted A Squared Entertainment and Lee's POW! Entertainment in March to point out its longstanding trademarks and warn them not to violate those rights. In a response received later that month, the toymaker was reportedly assured the companies "have decided to move in a different direction and are in the process of developing another mark for their products." In another letter, in early June, Super7 was told the companies planned to trademark "Stan Lee and the Super Seven." The toymaker's counsel responded the name was still too similar and "would be likely to confuse consumers," and invited the two companies' attorney contact Super7 "to discuss the matter further."
The plaintiff claims it heard nothing more on the matter until last month when, during Comic-Con International in San Diego, Stan Lee and executives from Archie Comics and A Squared Entertainment announced Super Seven will launch later this year.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, a judgment ordering Lee and his co-defendants to stop using Super7's trademark, and the destruction all prints, packaging and advertisements bearing the names "Super Seven" or "Stan Lee and the Super Seven."