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News: With Great Power Comes Potential Liability
posted April 29, 2004
 

April 29 -- Spider-Man license owners Marvel Enterprises and Marvel Characters has sued the owner of a web site search engine called Spiderboy.com. In pursuing the action, Marvel claimed that Florida resident Mark Pardo's use of www.spiderboy.com constituted unfair competition and both dilution of and infringement on their long established Spider-Man trademark. Marvel has long been away of the company and its colorful appellation. Pardo told the Fort Myers, Florida media that he had applied for a Spider-Boy trademark in 2000, but had been consistently blocked by Marvel.

Marvel does not at this time have a trademark on the name Spider-Boy, despite owning trademarks for such Spider-Man related names as Spider-Woman and Spider-Girl -- complete with publishing efforts since the 1970s that have helped safeguard the larger, more profitable trademark. A Spider-Boy character did appear during the Marvel/DC crossover Amalgam project in 1997.

Pardo told a Florida newspaper that he has since divested from the company he incorporated in 1999, and the current owners will soon change the name in order to pursue a wider variety of business opportunities. Marvel is seeking unspecified damages or an amount related to profits, plus destruction of all corporate material and a legal prohibition against Prado or anyone related to the original company using the name for business purposes at any time in the future.