Vancouver-based realtor, Ian Brett, who calls himself a ‘Real Estate Superhero’ with the persona ‘Captain Vancouver” has received a copyright warning from DC Comics, holders of the copyright for superheroes such as Superman and Batman.
Captain Vancouver’s outfit consists of a powdered wig, tricorn hat and breeches on top of white leggings. But under the 19th century naval costume is a blue t-shirt emblazoned with a red and yellow shield symbol, with an “R” for realtor instead of Superman’s trademarked “S.”
By a letter dated January 9, 2017, a representative from intellectual property law firm of Bereskin & Parr stated that while they appreciate his intent of comparing his real estate success to the success of the Superman character, the use not only infringes their client’s rights, but damages and depreciates the goodwill associated with the SUPERMAN marks and could lead to consumer confusion.
“We have just become aware of your trademark application for Real Estate Superhero, and the related use of that mark and image, as well as a red and yellow shield design with a red “R”. Images noted in our online investigations include those shown below. We have advised our client that the use of REAL ESTATE SUPERHERO, as a trademark, domain name or trade name, the R Shield Design, and any related imagery (such as the iconic SUPERMAN imagery of a shirt being ripped open to reveal a blue outfit with a shield design), infringes our client’s intellectual property rights.
The letter then states that Mr. Brett withdraw his trademark application for “Real Estate Superhero” and cease to wear his blue shirt with yellow shied immediately.
Accordingly, we request that you withdraw the application for REAL ESTATE SUPERHERO, and cease all use of the indicia mentioned above, including the use and depictions of a blue shirt with a red and yellow shield design, the shield itself, and the image of you ripping your shirt open to reveal the blue outfit with the Shield design. While our client does not object to use of CAPTAIN VANCOUVER to promote your real estate business, use of SUPERMAN indicia and the SUPER HERO trademarks is not permissible.
Mr. Brett had trademarked the name “Captain Vancouver” in 2013, but issues arose when he attempted to trademark “Real Estate Superhero”. He has following the receipt of the letter suggested that plans are being made to redesign the logo, “maybe in the shape of a house”.
Click here to see the Cease and Desist Letter.