The family business that owns the (still existing) copyrights and trademark rights on the works of author Edgar Rice Burroughs is suing comic distributor Dynamite Entertainment because of trademark infringement and unfair competition.
According to the family business the distributor is selling the comic book series The Lord of the Jungle and Warlord of Mars without their consent. These comic books series (one example left) are based on the books of Burroughs, namely Tarzan and Warlord of Mars. A clear infringement of the rights of the heirs of Burroughs (in the opinion of the heirs) who have registered trademarks such as Tarzan Lord of the Jungle. Moreover, this use would also be misleading as the public might think that these comic books are sold with the permission of the heirs.
It remains to be seen whether the heirs will be successfull with their action. In the United States (but also in the Benelux), the current doctrine is that the title of a book is inextricably connected with the book and therefore cannot be a valid trademark. MarkMatters.com is of the opinion that this doctrine is a bit outdated and cannot be justified also in view of the current circumstances whereas merchandising is a million dollar business. Of course, MarkMatters.com likes to hear your viewpoint and thoughts in this matter!
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