New York Lawyer sez:
A federal judge has ruled that the owner of the Superman franchise, DC Comics, owns a valid trademark in "kryptonite" that can be protected from dilution and infringement by a bicycle lock company that adopted the name.
Kryptonite Corp. began using the name in 1972 for bike locks and other security devices. In 1976, it applied to register "Kryptonite bike locks" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In 1983, after years of correspondence, DC Comics and the company reached an agreement that allowed the limited use of three marks associated with the kryptonite name as long as they were only for security devices and accessories for two-wheeled vehicles.
The company promised not to associate its products with the characters "Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, Superkids, Super Jr. and Krypto the Underdog." Nor would it "use the word 'super' or a super formative word in the advertising, promotion, packaging or labeling" of its products.
DC Comics claimed the express limitations in the agreement were breached in the 1990s when the Kryptonite Corp. applied for trademark applications for use of the kryptonite trademark for items other than locks and handlebar grips for bikes. The Kryptonite Corp. had applied for and/or registered "Krypto" stem words in violation of the agreement and used the word "super" in ad campaigns, DC Comics said.