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OCT
19
4 YEARS

Marvel Is Green With Rage Over 'Hulk' Power Tools

The Incredible Hulk
Getty Images

Now that Marvel has again decided to revitalize its comic icon the Incredible Hulk with a new TV series, the company is bulking up to protect its "Hulk" trademark.

In Marvel's line of sight is an Ohio-based power tool manufacturer, Airbase Industries, that's introducing a new line of industrial and home equipment under a "Hulk" brand. The company's marketing tagline for these tools is "Unleash the Power."

A subsidiary of Airbase Industries registered the Hulk mark last year. The company can be forgiven for believing there wouldn't be a problem. Throughout the years, other companies have registered "Hulk" with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, including a security company that sells "Hulk" locks and a supplier of  "Hulk" detergent dispensers for use with industrial degreasers, not to mention a certain famous professional wrestler and reality television star. Last October, a PTO examiner found no conflicting marks that would deprive Airbase from enjoying "Hulk" power tools.The decision threw Marvel into a rage.

The Disney-owned superhero factory is particularly upset with how Airbase is dressing up its "Hulk" brand in marketing literature. Some of Airbase's logo designs are below.

Marvel commenced an opposition proceeding before the PTO. Airbase began selling an air compressor using the Hulk anyway.

Now, Marvel has filed a lawsuit in Ohio District Court. According to the complaint, the infringing product's green shade is "confusingly similar" to the green on its own Hulk character and the defendant's logo is "nearly identical" to Marvel's Hulk logo. The studio says the configuration so closely resembles the look and feel of Marvel's Hulk that consumers will be left with the impression that the studio authorized and licensed the sale of the power tool. Marvel is looking for an injunction, a cancellation of the defendant's trademark, and all of the defendant's profits from the allegedly infringing products.