Holy trademark trouble, Batman! DC and Rihanna battle over the name ‘Robyn’

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A battle is going down over the rights to the name “Robyn” between DC Comics and…Rihanna?

DC has challenged a trademark application by the pop star (real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty) for the name. The challenge by DC would register “Robyn,” perhaps most associated with Batman’s trusty sidekick, for an upcoming series of “on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines.”

As reported by comic-book law blog Pirated Thoughts, the legal scuffle was initiated when the singer’s company attempted to trademark “Robyn” in June 2014, paving the way for some sort of online magazines affiliated with Rihanna. DC Comics, which holds the rights to Batman’s partner in crime fighting, the boy wonder known as Robin (with an “i”), subsequently filed a “Notice of Opposition” to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month to block the request.

The comics publisher — which is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment and its parent company Time Warner — is reportedly arguing that Rihanna is attempting to establish a trademark that is “in sight, sound and commercial impression virtually identical to DC Comic’s trademark.” The company’s challenge also suggests that the singer is “trading off the enormous goodwill associated with the ROBIN trademark and diluting its distinctiveness.”

After making his debut in a 1940 issue of Detective Comics, Robin has been a regular part of the DC Comics universe with various characters adopting the mantle and teaming up with the Dark Knight. The original character was conceived by Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and the publisher eventually trademarked the name “Robin” for action figures in 1984 and then again in 1995 for use in comic books.

According to DC’s trademark challenge, the existence of both its own “Robin” character in comics (and various other media) and Rihanna’s “Robyn” in whatever form it takes in the publishing world would confuse consumers and suggest a (non-existent) connection between the two products. Barring any agreement between the two companies, the issue is likely to be settled by the Trademark Office after hearing arguments from both parties about their respective claims.

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