In a lawsuit filed Monday in California federal court, DC Comics claims that a shirt sold by clothing manufacturer Mad Engine infringes on the design of Superman's iconic S-shield.
The shirt in question features a logo similar in shape, design and color to Superman's emblem, but with the word "dad" where the "S" would be. DC claims that Mad Engine did not obtain a license to appropriate the logo in this manner, and wants to discontinue sales of the shirt, which was sold in Target stores and on its website. Target is not included in the suit.
The complaint says that DC contacted Mad Engine on June 1 asking that they stop selling the shirt, though Mad Engine did not respond until June 19, which DC Comics claims was “an effort to allow the Infringing T-Shirt to remain available for sale through Father’s Day," and has thusfar refused to discontinue sales of the shirt.
While the image on the Mad Engine shirt does not match DC's trademarked logo exactly, the complaint states that the shirt infringes on DC's intellectual property, stating “The shield design on Defendant's Infringing T-Shirt is substantially similar to DC Comics’ copyrighted Shield Design. DC Comics' copyrighted Shield Design consists of a bordered five-sided shield in red and yellow, with the text inside the shield sized and positioned according to the proportions and shape of the shield. The shield design on Defendant's Infringing T-Shirt incorporates each of these elements."
DC's lawsuit claims trademark and copyright infringement, dilution, and false advertising and unfair competition under California and federal laws.