While he may be invulnerable to anything besides kryptonite, even the mighty Superman can be defeated by the Indonesian legal system as evidenced by a recent case in which DC Comics, the American company that owns the rights to the iconic superhero, failed to win a copyright infringement lawsuit against an Indonesian snack company.
In April 2018, DC Comics filed a lawsuit with the Central Jakarta Commercial Court against PT Marxing Fam Makmur, a Surabaya-based food and beverage company that holds 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 lawsuit came after DC’s path to registering the trademark for their iconic superhero in Indonesia was blocked by Marxing’s existing Superman trademark. DC surprisingly lost the copyright 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.
DC appealed the Central Jakarta Commercial Court decision to the Supreme Court. However, in a decision that would’ve pleased Lex Luthor, the Supreme Court upheld the Commercial Court’s decision.
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.
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DC and their legal representatives in Indonesia have yet to release a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling.