DC Comics defeats Indonesian snack company in Superman trademark lawsuit

Superman chocolate wafers sold on e-commerce platform Tokopedia. Photo: Tokopedia
Superman chocolate wafers sold on e-commerce platform Tokopedia. Photo: Tokopedia

DC Comics has finally found justice, the American way, after the comic book publisher won a trademark cancellation lawsuit it previously lost related to Superman-themed snacks in Indonesia.

The Central Jakarta Commercial Court yesterday ruled in favor of DC, who were represented by law firm Januar Jahja and Partners, after the publisher re-filed a lawsuit against Surabaya-based food and beverage company PT Marxing Fam Makmur. Marxing previously held the intellectual rights to the brand name Superman and its likeness in Indonesia, specifically for snack products including biscuits, ice cream, chocolate bars, and more.

The court ruled that DC, being the original creator of Superman, is the sole trademark owner of the iconic superhero in Indonesia. The court also annulled Marxing’s rights to the Superman brand and ordered the company to withdraw their Superman-themed products or face further legal consequences.

The ruling can was published in the court’s official website yesterday.

Surprisingly, Marxing won a previous lawsuit by DC on the same matter. In 2018, DC sued Marxing after their path to registering the trademark for their iconic superhero in Indonesia was blocked by Marxing’s existing Superman trademark. DC surprisingly lost the trademark lawsuit at the Central Jakarta Commercial Court, despite arguing that Superman is a character and brand already well known all around the world, including in Indonesia, and that Marxing had acted in bad faith in registering the trademark without DC’s permission.

Marxing defended their claim to Superman by saying they had registered the trademark in 1993 and had always renewed their right over the brand when necessary. Upon appeal, DC were told by the Indonesian Supreme Court that their lawsuit was not accepted because it was “obscure.”

In the little information that can be found about Marxing online, the food and beverage company is identified as a sister company to Siantar Top, which produces and distributes Superman-themed chocolate wafer biscuits and bars. If you grew up in Indonesia in the ‘90s, you would likely be familiar with these snacks, which are often found in warung (kiosks) in or near schools.

Also Read — Copyright vs Right to Copy: How Superman, IKEA, and other global brands lost trademark battles in Indonesia

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with more appropriate legal terms related to the case.

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