Marvel green with rage over "Hulk" power tools

Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:17am EDT

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Marvel is bulking up to protect its "Hulk" trademark.

The Disney-owned superhero factory is targeting an Ohio-based power tool manufacturer, Airbase Industries, that's introducing a 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, an examiner at the office gave the thumbs up to Airbase, enraging Marvel which had opposed the application. Airbase began selling its Hulk air compressor, and 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.