For Some Reason, BMW Is Asking For More Time To Oppose The Latest Gwen Stacey Character Trademark

from the two-car-monty dept

If you feel like you're about to get a silly trademark story, your spidey-sense is working. We'll keep this short and sweet, but this whole thing centers around Gwen Stacy, otherwise known as Spider-Woman. But because this is Marvel we're talking about, there is also something of an alternate universe version of Gwen Stacy, in which she went by the name Spider-Gwen, but has more recently had that character rebooted as Ghost-Spider.

Confused yet? Well, it's about to get worse.

When Marvel applied for a trademark on the Ghost-Spider name, two different companies asked for more time to oppose the marks. One opposition likely makes some sense and might be rather limited to the sports equipment and apparel markets that Marvel asked for in addition to comic books. That one comes from golf club manufacturer Taylor Made, which happens to make a putter line called Ghost Spider, with the apparel to match it.

It's not an objection to the comic book trademark, but rather to the more wider ranging products that Marvel is claiming a trademark for. Maybe Marvel might agree to a change in category or working?

Basically, Marvel applied for the Ghost-Spider mark for every market under the sun and Taylor Made appears to only want to challenge the registration for the markets in which it operates. Makes a fair amount of sense.

So why is BMW also opposing the mark?

John G. Froemming and Jessica D. Bradley, lawyers at Washington DC legal firm Jonas Day represent Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft – better known as BMW. And they have issued a request to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for an extension of time to oppose the trademark.

There's no real detail to go on, so we're left to speculate exactly what BMW's problem with the Ghost-Spider name would be. The folks at Bleeding Cool think they've figured it out. But if they're right, BMW doesn't have a valid opposition.

BMW has the Spyder models. And it owns Rolls-Royce, with the Ghost models.

Two different brands under two different makes of car does not customer confusion make. If that really is the story here, it would be much better if the folks at BMW didn't waste everyone's time, because that's the kind of opposition that will get tossed immediately.

Meanwhile, maybe the folks at Marvel can dream up a few more alternate realities, including one where trademark law wasn't so completely busted.


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 8:10pm

    Minor nitpick to the story: While the character was colloquially referred to Spider-Gwen (for obvious reasons), her in-universe superhero name was Spider-Woman.

    Do I get a No-Prize for my pedantry? :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 12:49am

      Re:

      What, really? I honestly had no idea that she wasn't called Spider-Gwen. I was at the store today, and even saw official merchandise (one of those articulated figurines with the fiddly replaceable heads), and the name on the box was Spider-Gwen. And those sorts of things are usually good at having the correct character name (how else would the world know the name of Bounty Hunter #3, Boba Fett?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      rkhalloran (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 7:17am

      Re: nitpick

      The character was from an alternate reality where Gwen got bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker (and Peter ends up dying later on instead of her). She was merged over to the main Marvel universe later on, and since they already had a [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Woman_(Jessica_Drew)] (Spider-Woman) character there, they've relabeled her as Ghost Spider.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      Her name is also misspelled in the headline.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 12:34am

    Well.. at least this time it's major corporations battling with each other this time instead of bullying some small business in a different country...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 12:42am

    a world where a company can get anything trademarked for *every* market, yet it seems impossible to have people agree that this is a bad thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 1:18am

    The test we always talk about is an idiot in a hurry....
    How is it we don't wonder about the lawyers who are the only ones who seem to be confused by the marks???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    viperworld, 19 Sep 2018 @ 1:56am

    BMW

    Well.. at least this time it's major corporations battling with each other this time instead of bullying some small business in a different country...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 4:53am

    Could be that BMW has plans to make a car called Ghost-Spyder

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 7:55am

      Re:

      That was my thoughts... a Rolls Royce sports car designed like the Spyder would clearly be named Ghost Spyder. Or maybe vice versa - a new Spyder model that had some Rolls Royce features.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re:

        BMW is marketing apparel with the Spyder (currently a special version of the i8) on it. You can find shirts and other pieces online. BMW's been using the Spyder name for quite a while, for special versions of other vehicles, too. It would not be out of line for such a thing to happen in the Rolls house.

        I can easily envision the possibility that Rolls is working on a Spyder version of the Ghost for the future, perhaps along the lines of their Vision 100 concept design. And of course, they'll want to sell apparel. Keychains, polos, etc.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 5:01am

    Marvel creating an alternate reality where trademark law wasn't broken wouldn't work. Someone would just write a reality where Norman Osbourne was President and who worked out a trade agreement with all the other realities that includes an ISDS which allows Oscorp ownership of all intellectual properties not already claimed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 19 Sep 2018 @ 6:30am

    Rolls-Royce Ghost Spider is a colloquial name for the convertible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sharur, 20 Sep 2018 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      Exactly my thought.

      Note that that BMW is not alone in having "spider" or "spyder" models.

      FIAT, Porsche and Alpha Romeo (among others probably) have had models with such designations, generally for convertible or open-top cars.

      And as noted by another poster, car companies are selling (and people are buying, for reasons that are beyond me) apparel and knickknacks branded with their car names, which could conflict with Marvel's copyright, in the same way that the Taylor Made apparel might.

      I think BMW could possibly have a decent objection here, rather than "for some random weird copyright reason".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        First of all, you're confusing copyrights with trademarks. This case is about trademark. It has nothing to do with copyright.

        Second, trademark protection is only good for a specific market segment. Taylor Made has a good case for blocking Marvel's Ghost Spider trademark for sports equipment, because it owns the Ghost Spider trademark for sports equipment. Taylor Made does not have a good case for blocking Marvel's Ghost Spider trademark for action figures, because Taylor Made does not sell Ghost Spider action figures.

        Similarly, BMW can block Marvel from using the "Ghost Spider" name in any market that might compete with BMW. But it's unclear to me what market that might be.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ghost-Spider, 19 Sep 2018 @ 6:57am

    My new app for crawling the web will be named Ghost-Spider.

    Tired of the search engines censoring your conservative thought? Well, I've got the solution for you - Ghost-Spider will crawl the web looking for conservative thought and present same to you in easily read format which allows filtering on any conservative topic.

    No more having to wade thru all that liberal crap they lie about in their fake news. Now you will have your very own connection to the echo chamber of conservative thought.

    Lock her up !

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 9:21am

    Pot/Kettle?

    Are we forgetting that Disney....errr.... Marvel... is one of the big boys in copyright/trademark ....... Assertion???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 19 Sep 2018 @ 9:34am

    Wonder if they also are trying the Trademark everything for the name Gwen? Gwen is one of the main characters in the NCSoft game Guild Wars Eye of the North expansion. Would think the trying to Trademark anything to do with video games and related saleable stuff might run afoul of existing NCSoft marks and copyrights on Gwen, assuming that NCSoft obtained such.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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