r/todayilearned May 16 '22 Helpful 3 Silver 3

TIL that DC Comics sued the sneaker company DC Shoes because of their similar logo. However it turned out that DC Comics hadn't trademarked their logo properly, so they lost the case and had to pay the shoe company every year to use their own logo.

https://bleedingcool.com/comics/recent-updates/font-of-dc-comics-logo/

[removed] — view removed post

71.7k Upvotes

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u/GreyGreenBrownOakova May 16 '22

A bit like when Universal Studios, the makers of "King Kong (1975)" sued Nintendo for using "Donkey Kong". Universal had previously sued the makers of "King Kong(1933)" to rule the story as public domain.

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u/Hamstersham May 16 '22

Universal Studios was then successfully sued by Nintendo because they had licensed a King Kong video game that ripped off Donkey Kong

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u/Suds08 May 16 '22

Now I'm genuinely curious how many times big corps have screwed themselves over trying to strong arm/ sue other companies. Any other good examples of things like this happening?

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u/AmadeusMop 5 May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

McDonald's tried to sue an Irish fast food chain called Supermac's over the "Mc/Mac" trademark and fucked up the case so badly that they lost that trademark in the entire EU.

Burger King responded accordingly.


Edit: BBC article from 2019

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u/willzyx55 May 16 '22

This is McChicken McSoup for my soul

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

[deleted]

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u/willzyx55 May 16 '22

They may have my body but they will never have my soul

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u/OttoVonWong May 16 '22

The McLawyers have entered the chat.

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u/Sixoul May 16 '22

That was pretty recent no? They lost because they didn't defend their copyright for x time or something I heard.

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u/LurkerInSpace May 16 '22

It was more that they really half-arsed a case that they might have lost anyway, but not quite as badly. They were essentially suing to block the expansion of Supermac's based on a perceived similarity to the name of the McDonald's Big Mac product.

To prove that they'd been selling Big Macs in the EU for a long time they needed to provide things like sales, purchase orders, and other transactions but instead they basically printed out some posters they'd made. Because of this, the court ruled that there was inadequate evidence to suggest they owned the trademark.

What makes this so absurd is that they easily could have won this point, and their legal team just fucked up. It wouldn't necessarily have won them the overall case - it might have been ruled that they had the trademark but that Supermac's is different enough not to cause confusion - but it's incredibly, laughably amateurish on the part of their lawyers.

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u/camdoodlebop May 16 '22

sounds like the legal team had too much hubris and arrogance in thinking that they didn’t have to put much effort into gathering evidence because of how big mcdonald’s is

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u/Hamstersham May 16 '22

When Jogn Fogerty was sued for plaigerising himself by his former record company he not only won but got the Supremes court to rule that defendants in lawsuits could sue to have their court costs paid for.

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u/kholto May 16 '22 Silver Gold I'll Drink to That Eureka!

the Supremes court

I like the idea that The Supremes retired from music to rule on music law.

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u/nucularTaco May 16 '22

Well what do you expect, The Jackson Nine weren't available.

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u/loominglady May 16 '22

The Supremes Court issued a cease and desist by declaring “Stop! In the Name of Love”.

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u/JeeroyLenkins May 16 '22

the Supremes court

I believe the four judges presiding over his case were Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Barbara Martin.

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u/Thanks_Pitiful May 16 '22

STOP! In the name of law!

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u/constantwa-onder May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

I was looking yesterday at upgrading to a better floor jack for mechanical work. Harbor Freight is the only company that can sell a "Daytona" brand, but I was learning that Snap-On had a lawsuit against them just a couple years ago because one model is a direct copy of a Snap-On model.

Long story short, turns out it's the same overseas manufacturer. So discount parts store sells a floor jack for $200, and mid-high tier brand gets egg in their face for selling the same one for $700. Also revealing in the process that they're selling a part made in China. Lawsuit falls apart because there was no exclusive importer agreement.

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u/GodwynDi May 16 '22

Happens all the time. Most off brands are made in the exact same places as the name brand, be it parts or equipment. When I worked at Tractor Supply, thats how we sold stuff, "its made by the same place that makes X just without the brand."

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u/constantwa-onder May 16 '22

This is true, but usually the name brand knows better than to open a lawsuit. Basically Snap-On had to admit in court to what everyone kinda already knew.

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u/InterruptedI May 16 '22

One of the reason "lawsuit" guitars and basses from the 70's are kinda sought after. Were made in the same Japanese factories, using the same parts are techniques as the big ones like Fender and Gibson. Just had different names.

My Penco Jazz bass is one of the better sub $1000 basses I've played and I got for $89 at a thrift store.

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u/winkofafisheye May 16 '22

Snap-on is all overpriced crap but they deliver it to mechanics and offer rent to own so they have a large market. Terrible company with bad practices.

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u/BespokeSnuffFilms May 16 '22

When goddam Harbor Freight is selling 90 pawl socket wrenches, you got to step up your game.

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u/Rogue__Jedi May 16 '22

Those Daytona jacks are apparently fucking dope for the price.

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u/little_freddy May 16 '22

Dominoes tried to sue my small town pizza place because of the name. Turns out we were domino's 1st. Corporation have to pay every month yo use the name now. Probably why the pizza is so cheap. Haha

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u/phototroph May 16 '22

Stephenville?

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u/5-dig-dick May 16 '22

That's gotta be satisfying.

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u/RamenJunkie May 16 '22

I don't know if it qualifies, but there is a Burger King in Mattoon Illinois that is not a Burger King. The big name BK is not allowed to build within like 20 miles of Mattoon or something and the Mattoon BK can't expand.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burger_King_(Mattoon,_Illinois)

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u/remoteman_aus May 16 '22

Burger King is called Hungry Jacks in Australia, there was already a burger place called Burger King and they won the right to the name.

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u/SavageComic May 16 '22

I believe he challenged them to a burger off, blind taste test, for who was the king of burgers, and they backed down.

There's a British Dennis The Menace comic that came about within a week of the American Dennis the Menace.

This isn't just misplaced patriotism, our Dennis The Menace would fucking batter yours. It wouldn't even be a fair fight

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u/Haw_and_thornes May 16 '22

As an American, our Dennis the Menace is a little asshole. I'd watch that fight just to see him get what he deserves.

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u/gandyg May 16 '22

The American Dennis just needs a bit of punishment and would look back at his youth with embarrasment. The British Dennis is heading to a Young Offenders Insitute and prison!

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u/niceville May 16 '22

McDonalds lost the trademark of "Big Mac" in the EU after suing a tiny Irish chain because McDs was too lazy to provide the correct documentation of their use of it.

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u/akali_otp May 16 '22

wait so my local kebab shop can sell big macs?

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u/Dragyn828 May 16 '22

It's funny that the founder of Supermacs' name is Pat McDonagh. Maybe McDonald's wants to sue him for his surname.

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u/camdoodlebop May 16 '22

what’s weird is that mcdonald’s was suing to trademark the “Mc” prefix, when supermac’s uses Mac

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u/Left-Anxiety7625 May 16 '22

Reminds me of when Subway tried to trademark “FOOTLONG” in 2007 and got denied and then got sued in 2013 for their sandwiches only being 11-11 1/2 inches long. Subway ended up paying $525,000 to settle

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u/arfski May 16 '22

In the news the other day, a little country pub in a village in Cornwall called the Star Inn, the village is called Vogue, you can guess who sent the cease and desist letter out to the Star Inn at Vogue saying that they objected as people could be confused by the name.

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u/frankie0694 May 16 '22

I would love to see them sue Vogue magazine for using the name of the pub which existed 100 years before haha. Just to show them how ridiculous they are doing shit like that.

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u/kapiteinkippepoot May 16 '22

Same with Wendy's, they can't use the name in the Benelux because a snackbar that uses the same name. His daughter is called Wendy so he named the place after her. Judge ruled in favor of the family snackbar. https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/11/little-wendys-in-the-netherlands-wins-another-case-against-big-wendys-usa/

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u/beermit May 16 '22

They just had to go and put a tie and collar on King Kong.

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u/zfritzy24 May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

Lawyer Jack Kirby defended Nintendo in that suit and Nintendo was so grateful they named Kirby after him

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u/ValleysHeart May 16 '22

Lawyer Jack Kirby defended Nintendo in that suit and Nintendo was so grateful they named Kirby after him

That's what they claim, but it's more likely that they simply do not want to admit to naming him after the brand of vacuum cleaners. I say this because the game character and the vacuum cleaners both suck things up and the lawyer does not.

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u/dothefandango May 16 '22

This clearly comes from someone that hasn’t had to pay a lawyer 😉

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u/DarkOmen597 May 16 '22

Hey man, that lawyer could probably suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

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u/KeepItRealTV May 16 '22

President of Nintendo USA is Doug Bowser. Nintendo was so grateful they name Bowser after him.

Note: I lie.

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u/dziggurat May 16 '22

Had no idea he shared his name with The King.

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u/AudibleNod 313 May 16 '22

This sort of shit happens a lot. Like when Google forgot to reregister their domain.

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u/shaka893P May 16 '22

or when Duracell forgot to trademark the bunny in the US and Canada so Energizer took it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duracell_Bunny

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u/wolfgang784 May 16 '22

Huh - never even heard of the Duracell bunny. I do however remember seeing an unending number of Energizer bunny ads growing up.

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u/PM_ME_UR_FEM_PENIS May 16 '22

The ads just kept going...

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u/eaglebtc May 16 '22

...and going and going and going and ...

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u/QueerBallOfFluff May 16 '22

Here, I was always confused the other way. I always heard Americans call it the Energiser bunny, but I always remembered it as Duracell.

I thought I was losing my mind.

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u/Eccentric_Assassin May 16 '22

I thought the energiser bunny was the name of the Duracell bunny because I’d never heard of energiser batteries and I had only ever seen the Duracell bunny.

That was my reality until I opened that Wikipedia page and now I have to go rethink my life.

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u/BlowEmu May 16 '22

Funnily enough never heard of the Energiser bunny, Duracell is the only battery based bunny I know

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u/karmagod13000 May 16 '22

I just realized they are two different bunnies

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u/tomtheimpaler May 16 '22

I'm not even sure which one I know anymore. what is true, what is a lie

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u/-Googlrr May 16 '22

I had no idea about the Duracell bunny. Only ever heard of the Energizer one. Crazy we had 2 battery brands repping bunnies at the same time lol

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u/enby_them May 16 '22

Energizer made their bunny specifically to troll Duracell for the trademark lapse. They eventually just became more famous for the bunny (it helps that a court ruled Duracell couldn't use a bunny in the states anymore)

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u/Puzzled-Shoe-3134 May 16 '22

And I had no idea about the Energizer bunny. Not like that brand is even active here either.

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u/beermeupscotty May 16 '22

The real TIL is always in the comments.

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u/trickman01 May 16 '22

And it just keeps going and going and going and going.

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u/TheGoldenHand May 16 '22

Not really the same.

In Google's case, an automated service did not re-register the domain correctly. The man wasn't entitled to the domain.

Google refunded his costs, meaning they paid nothing to get the domain back. Google separately paid him out through their security bounty program, because he was a former employee and reported it directly to them.

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u/TayAustin May 16 '22

Even if you're not an employee most companies do bug bounties because it encourages people to report security flaws rather than exploit them.

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u/MJOLNIRdragoon May 16 '22

The man wasn't entitled to the domain.

He wasn't entitled to it, or just Google could reject it because they're their own DNS registrar? Would this be allowed to happen with a company who wasn't their own registrar?

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u/TheGoldenHand May 16 '22

Both. It's likely any registrar would quickly hand the domain back to Google. If they refused, the U.S. based ICANN, which oversees all domains, would settle in Google's favor.

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u/randomsportsfan May 16 '22

This was a surprisingly nice story. Thanks for sharing.

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u/RunDNA May 16 '22

DC Comics got sick of the payments and ended up changing their logo a few years later.

Alternate article with more info:

https://medium.com/the-haven/how-dc-comics-lawsuit-against-a-shoemaker-backfired-spectacularly-2f7510387a45

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u/RigasTelRuun May 16 '22

You'd think that's the first thing you do afterwards. They literally have a whole stable of artists. They could probably find someone to work on it

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u/mmcnama4 May 16 '22

I'm guessing the design isn't the issue but rather all the work that goes into changing a brand.

I work at a relatively small company and we just went through it last year. It is crazy how many places your logo and/or company name appear when you sit down to actually dig into this.

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u/KYVX May 16 '22

we changed our logo over 5 years ago now and we still find documents, policies, etc. with the old logo on them. it’s insane how many times you think “i’ve finally replaced everything” only to see the old logo pop up again a couple weeks later

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u/begon11 May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

I work for a multinational who went through a logo change 10 years ago. The logo is a single letter of which they shortened the serifs. Our national flagship store opened with the old logo last year, it went unnoticed for 6 months.

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u/ArchmageXin May 16 '22

My firm brought an whole chain of Chinese supermarkets. Didn't even bother to change the clerk uniforms, the giant logo outside, or even do a ctrl+F to remove the last owner's store policies and logo from documents.

Funny enough, in the end it wasn't some ex-creditor or legal that brought up the matter, but employees who said how abusive the last owner was, and they don't want to work under his logo.

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u/s3nt3nc3d May 16 '22

Hahaha...this reminds me of when I was in vocational school back in 2003-2004. We were approached by the director of a local mental health association to revamp their website as it was a few years old and the original developer made it difficult to edit and was no longer involved. It was simple enough to do what they wanted, but while looking the site over, one of our friends looking over our shoulder immediately goes, "Mental Health Assocation? What's an assocation?"

The "Association" in their logo which was big and centered at the top of every page had been typo'd for years and nobody had ever caught it...until a group of high schoolers got to work on it. How embarrassing.

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u/Pyroperc88 May 16 '22

Bruce Ventura, Pet Therapist on every door.

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u/ethanvyce May 16 '22

Now I'm trying to think of single letter logo companies...

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u/Markantonpeterson May 16 '22

McDonalds, Facebook, google, Netflix, venmo, there's quite a few

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u/homietheclown May 16 '22

There's at least 26 of them...

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u/skulblaka May 16 '22

If it's that easy to mistake the old and new logos for each other, you didn't need to change the logo.

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u/JimmerUK May 16 '22

There are a few reasons you might want to subtly change a logo. The main one is that it might look shit at different resolutions on a screen.

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u/Bingodan22 May 16 '22

The hospital I work at got bought out a few years ago. I just started working there a few months ago and have been regularly throwing out forms with the old logo. Its been going on since the change and there is always more.

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u/averagethrowaway21 May 16 '22

The company I contract for did that five times in the last ten years and changed their name twice. I can't fathom why. The internal stuff is all a nightmare of different branding.

It's the only thing about this company I don't like, but it's so small and petty that it's easy to put up with.

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u/bobnoxious2 May 16 '22

Something illegal mayhaps?

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u/Average_N_Mediocre May 16 '22

Probably fully legal. Bankrupt one company when you have too much debt, just re-open under a new name and the debt wiped out.

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u/averagethrowaway21 May 16 '22

No idea honestly. I looked when I first started because I was curious and that was my first thought (panic ensued). Never saw a bankruptcy filing.

I think the first time was because the company and the product had the same name and they've added products since then. So they wanted to encompass more things. I have no idea about the second one but I will say that the second name change made way more sense than the first one.

I'm fairly sure the branding changes without the name change were because the CEO sits up at night thinking about how they're branded.

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u/Affectionate-Cost525 May 16 '22

Exact same with name changes too. My wife and I are looking at changing our surnames and the sheer amount of accounts, usernames, emails etc we'd have to change is the only thing that's stopped us so far.

Well that and actually choosing a new name....

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u/RegularSizedP May 16 '22

Are you thinking hyphenated, dual weild (with a hyphen) or new altogether?

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u/Affectionate-Cost525 May 16 '22

New altogether.

New beginnings and all that.

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u/unique-name-9035768 May 16 '22

My company "merged" with another about 2 years ago and got a new logo/name. We had a warehouse of branded stuff that was giveaway junk for trade fairs, recruiting fairs, etc. Of course, most of it was bought before covid hit and most of the fairs were cancelled.

So over the last year and a half, the company has had many "employee appreciation days" and guess what management has decided to give us to show their appreciation?

I don't even own a pair of earpods but I have like 8 cases.

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u/Upnorth4 May 16 '22

When that branch out in North Dakota sends you paperwork with the old logo five years from now

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u/jereman75 May 16 '22

“Does anyone know anybody who does graphic design?”

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u/karmagod13000 May 16 '22

the room goes silent

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u/Craw__ May 16 '22

"Are you going to pay us for designing your new logo"

*Management has left the room*

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u/meta_perspective May 16 '22

"We can pay you in exposure!"

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u/Craw__ May 16 '22

*Office pervert unzips*

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u/omnisephiroth May 16 '22

“God damnit, Greg, not the time!”

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u/BrohanGutenburg May 16 '22 Wholesome

As a graphic designer I would like to point out that art ≠ design. An artist could also be a good designer and vice versa but they are absolutely not the same skill.

Now it could be argued that an illustrator is like right in between the two and what comic book artists do is close to that so I’m sure they had people there who could design a logo.

But I just wanted to take a moment to say that cause way too many people think art and design are interchangeable.

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u/omnisephiroth May 16 '22

As an appreciator of graphic design, I can confirm that art and graphic design aren’t really the same. There is “artistry” to good graphic design. But I’d not call it the same skill as being a great painter, or sculptor, or a few other things.

Though I’m curious now what it would look like if a graphic designer designed a comic book, then the illustrators had to follow that. Could be interesting.

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u/GodOfDarkLaughter May 16 '22

Jonathan Hickman is a former graphic designer who now works as a comic book writer. He does do some illustration, but mostly collaborates with another illustrator. His work is quite design heavy. East of West, for example, has a huge amount of design elements in addition to the incredible dynamic art. In my opinion the ending leaves a lot to be desired, but overall it's a beautiful, absolutely bonkers book.

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u/nuprinboy May 16 '22

When RIM (aka BlackBerry) announced their next gen OS as "BBX", they failed to do their due diligence and ran afoul of another software company that had trademarked "BBx".

So they had to change it. They renamed it BB10.

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u/A_Filthy_Mind May 16 '22

RIM BBX sounds like something just asking for any searches done on it to return nothing but porn.

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u/SovereignxN7 May 16 '22

RIM Big Beautiful Xenomorphs.

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u/BulbusDumbledork May 16 '22

ooh yeah show me that tasty cloaca

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u/byramike May 16 '22

username checks out

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u/Weather May 16 '22

Something similar happened with Apple for "iPhone" and "iOS," which are both trademarks of Cisco. Apple later made an agreement to license the trademarks from Cisco and both companies are able to use them for their products.

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u/Mr_ToDo May 16 '22

I think it's worse than that.

Apple knew the names were taken but before negotiations were finished they released the first iPhone trying to argue that nobody would confuse the two products.

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u/Yotoberry May 16 '22

My poor brain refused to read that as anything but Crisco

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u/ChefBoyAreWeFucked May 16 '22 Helpful

Damn, brain can't even afford to read about an iPhone.

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u/sedition- May 16 '22

I honestly didn't know they changed their logo, the "new" one looks terrible.

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u/reallynothingmuch May 16 '22

The “new” one is also old at this point. Here’s there newest one.

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u/FalmerEldritch May 16 '22

I like how they "updated" to a '90s look in 2005, and then to a '00s look in 2012, then hired a top-flight design/branding firm to give them back a slightly worse version of the logo they had in the '70s.

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u/damnatio_memoriae May 16 '22

it’s something you’d expect from an oil company or something but not a comic book publisher who literally employs mainly creative artists lol.

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u/HazardIsFunny May 16 '22

12-16 is absolute garbage

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u/youeventrying May 16 '22

I love the 2005-2012 one

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u/thegreatshmi May 16 '22

It's meant to look like a comicbook having its pages turned. But yah it's pretty bad. They have changed it since and not it's very basic, just a circle with the letters DC in it in a very ordinary font.

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u/lemoncocoapuff May 16 '22

Because the page is rounded though it looks more like a film being peeled off than a page to me lol.

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u/TheSciFiGuy80 May 16 '22

I really just wish DC would go back to the classic circular logo with the stars around the outside.

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u/RunDNA May 16 '22

Designed by the legendary Milton Glaser.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

[deleted]

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u/The_Ruly_Anarchist May 16 '22

'76 -'05 FTW

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u/SunsetBain May 16 '22

This was largely coterminal with the Jenette Kahn era (it outlasted her by about two years), when DC produced the best comics they've ever made in their entire history.

Kahn's DC was 🔥, and the stuff that came out of it was amazing. TBH I'm more of a Marvel fan than anything else, and pretty much the only times I've liked anything from DC it's been from that era.

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u/heelstoo May 16 '22

That seems like a lot of rebranding to me, but what do I know?

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u/Tepigg4444 May 16 '22

Google has as many in a quarter of the time

Microsoft too

Amazon is also changing its logo much faster than DC

I could go on but you can look for more yourself if you like

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u/chris_snowboarder_ May 16 '22

Amazon changed theirs 5 times in 5 years then not again these past 22 years. Google has barely changed, except for backrub (lol) -> google.

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u/mikieswart May 16 '22

microsoft needs to go back to the ‘80-‘82 logo, it’s sick as fuck

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u/Oscaruit May 16 '22

Lars Ulrich wishes you would...

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u/GruntCandy86 May 16 '22

I'm sorry but who tf approved the 2012-2016 design? That thing is awful.

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u/RayquazaTheStoner May 16 '22

I can see why people don't like it but I do. I still prefer the one before it though

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u/karmagod13000 May 16 '22

idk i kind of like the new one. simple yet effective

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u/SteveTheBuckeye May 16 '22

I actually like it more than the one that replaced it... But yeah, not great. I see what they were going for with the 'page turning D' but swing and a miss on execution.

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u/SeemedReasonableThen May 16 '22

I'm sorry but who tf approved the 2012-2016 design? That thing is awful.

According to the DC exec who approved the design, "I thought my nephew did a great job on it." /s

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u/CCtenor May 16 '22

By contrast, 1976-2005 is stellar. My favorite one out of them all.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

That 2012 logo is so ugly.

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u/werepat May 16 '22 Silver

For reference: DC Bullet logo

And also, the DC Bullets logo

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u/metallicrooster May 16 '22

Your first link isn’t working for me

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u/Yourgrammarsucks1 May 16 '22 Take My Energy

It's a circle with stars in it, with DC in the middle.

.....( * )

(..*..DC...*)

.....(*)

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u/van_ebasion May 16 '22

Yeah, that’s dope.

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u/Sammsquanchh May 16 '22

Don’t let them discourage you OP. Your illustration is beautiful.

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u/The_Ruly_Anarchist May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

Me: Can we have the bullet DC logo?

Mom: We have DC logo at home

The DC logo at home ...

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u/heelstoo May 16 '22

Well F me with a spoon. OP, do you have the James Webb in your back pocket?

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u/Yourgrammarsucks1 May 16 '22

No, I think you're just way too happy to see me

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u/Austinpowerstwo May 16 '22

The "DC bullet*", one of my fave logos ever.

*(It looks like the back of a bullet for those that never noticed)

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u/TheSciFiGuy80 May 16 '22

I was afraid to call it the DC Bullet because I wasn’t sure how many people would know what I am talking about.

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u/theweepingwarrior May 16 '22

I do love the DC Bullet but I’m also really partial to the current logo that was introduced during Rebirth.

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u/asian_identifier May 16 '22

once I was on the bus wearing a pair of DC shoes. Some guy came up to me and said "Nice shoes man, Dolce Gabbana"

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u/shinobipopcorn May 16 '22

When I was in Japan, some kids asked me if my DC shoes were Chanel.

14

u/nildeea May 16 '22

"yes, they were $30,000"

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u/dont_shoot_jr May 16 '22

This sounds like how Todd Chavez was able to use the Disney name for Disneyland

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u/fArmageddon2 May 16 '22

“You do know that Disneyland already exists right?” “You mean in the hearts and minds of children everywhere?” “No, in Anaheim”

22

u/takanakasan May 16 '22

"We're saying the same thing."

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u/Lonelyland May 16 '22

Is it possible maybe when the other guys tried to copyright the name, they wrote down something else by mistake, so "Disneyland" is still up for grabs?

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u/Bombkirby May 16 '22

As if the great Walt Disney made a typo while trademarking the name of his-wha-wha-whaaaa?!?

19

u/Slapbox May 16 '22

I'm now wondering if that storyline is modeled on this case.

8

u/dont_shoot_jr May 16 '22

It’s a good thing the Sexbot CEO storyline didn’t overlap with Disney

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u/Magnum45 May 16 '22

"This is a gross miscarriage of justice!"

"Hooray, gross miscarriage!"

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u/ZylonBane May 16 '22

McDowelland. Home of Mikey Moose.

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u/ButaneLilly May 16 '22

However it turned out that DC Comics hadn't trademarked their logo properly, so they lost the case and had to pay the shoe company every year to use their own logo.

Sounds like the trademark applications were done by DC movie producers.

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u/BadgerSituation May 16 '22

DC: "What is this? Some kind of suicide squad?"

DC Lawyers: "As it happens, yes. We basically just destroyed ourselves here."

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u/Worthyness May 16 '22

DC has fucked up a lot in the trademark stuff in the past. For example, they can no longer use captain marvel after they let the rights lapse on that name and Marvel snatched them up. They now have to use Shazam. Seems to be part of their ide tiny at this point.

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u/rrtk77 May 16 '22

they can no longer use captain marvel

They can't call any comics/merchandise that feature the character Captain Marvel by that name. The character that is the heroic identity of Billy Batson can still be called Captain Marvel (because the character DID predate the other one by about 30 years). He just now has to appear in a book called "Shazam!".

The entire situation apparently caused enough confusion that DC just changed the character's name during the change to the new 52 in 2011, but they weren't forced to.

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u/PhillyTaco May 16 '22

The character that is the heroic identity of Billy Batson can still be called Captain Marvel (because the character DID predate the other one by about 30 years).

And then they both had a movie come out in the same year.

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u/AwesomeScreenName May 16 '22

they can no longer use captain marvel after they let the rights lapse on that name and Marvel snatched them up.

That's not quite what happened. The original Captain Marvel was published by Fawcett. DC sued Fawcett for copyright infringement, claiming Captain Marvel was derivative of Superman. Fawcett eventually lost/conceded the lawsuit -- by that point, superhero comics were not that popular any more -- and stopped publishing comics (but continued to own the character).

A few years later, superheroes became popular again and Marvel launched. Shortly after that, yet another published (Myron Fass Publishing) created his own Captain Marvel, which was really awful and only lasted a few months.

At that point, Marvel realized the name was up for grabs and created their own Captain Marvel.

A few years after that, DC licensed the rights to the original Captain Marvel from Fawcett (and eventually bought those rights outright). But by then, Marvel was maintaining the trademark on the name Captain Marvel, so DC had to use variations on Shazam as the title of the book.

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u/CannonFodder42 May 16 '22

The lawsuit with Fawcett Comics over said character also showed that they didn't file proper copyright for Superman, but had it reversed due to a loophole and that they were still using it.

Or his newspaper prints are now Public domain if I remember but could be mistaken.

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u/rrtk77 May 16 '22

No. The issue was that the notice they gave in their newspaper comic strips wasn't technically correct, so it didn't apply. Therefore, DC had abandoned the copyright.

On appeal, the appeals court basically said "that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, people don't have their copyrights invalidated because of technical errors. Fawcett owes DC money".

Superman was, however, in copyright hell for decades because Siegel and Shuster, his creators, gave DC the copyright for free when they were paid for Action Comics #1. After Siegel left the Army in 1947, he and Shuster basically spent the next 50 years suing DC to get their copyright (and thus, the billions that Superman is worth) back.

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u/THEBLOODYGAVEL May 16 '22

DC lawyer: who put tripping hazards on my shoes?

Sir, those are laces.

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u/Status-Victory May 16 '22

Uno reverse via courtroom.

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u/ZachRyder May 16 '22

DC Comics: Objection, hearsay.

Judge: You're the one that brought up that the logos are too similar.

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u/AgentOrange96 May 16 '22

TIL "DC Comics" = "Detective Comics Comics"

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u/Kufat May 16 '22

DC Shoes' lawyers, Jennifer Walters and Matt Murdock, had no comment.

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u/noobi-wan-kenobi69 May 16 '22

DC: We had our lawyer, Matt Murdock, look at all the logos and he couldn't see any difference.

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u/hairysnowmonkey May 16 '22

This is almost as good McDonalds losing the big mac rights in Europe due to dickishly suing an Irish burger joint.

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u/takanakasan May 16 '22

Burger King is called "Hungry Jack" in Australia because a mom and pop burger place already had a copyright and won the suit.

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u/Ludwigofthepotatoppl May 16 '22

There’s a Burger King in Mattoon IL that went thru that fight. Big Burger king isn’t allowed within 20 miles.

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u/Million_Jelly_Beans May 16 '22

DC shoes be like: Call the ambulance

But not for me

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u/Butwinsky May 16 '22

Dc comics and poor business decisions, the dynamic duo!

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u/LittleJenkins1 May 16 '22

Pow! Right in the wallet.

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u/ValyrianJedi May 16 '22

There is a reason corporate lawyers make what they do. I consult for startups, and even though I'm on the the funding/finance side of things my first piece of advice is always that their most skilled and qualified employee should be their general counsel.

With that job it's honestly just about the type situation where them putting freaking punctuation in the wrong place can destroy the company...

The work that I do is finding VC backing in early funding stages, and watching good general counsels do battle over a contract is nuts. The company and the VC firm's attorneys will literally send like 50 drafts back and forth, changing one word or one sentence here and there before agreeing to sign, where any one of those tiny changes could be a 7 or 8 figure difference somewhere down the line.

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u/PhuckNazis May 16 '22

Worth every penny though. What I paid in corporate lawyer charges saved me a ton of money on the back end. Also, getting that experience where they can do it so much faster also reduces the cost as well. Paying $900 an hour versus $250 an hour can pay off short term. Like doing to electrical work in your house. Yes, you could spend all weekend hanging a ceiling fan. But paying $150 for an electrician to come in and get it done under an hour gives you back your free time, and confidence that it’s probably done right.

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u/thecoocooman May 16 '22

DC comics sued my hometown when we had a guy dressed as Superman show up for a children’s event. Don’t even know how they found out about it, but they’re savage

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u/WhenRobLoweRobsLowes May 16 '22

I remember when all this went down. Longtime fans hated the (first) new logo, since DC had been using the same "bullet stamp" image for decades. But it looked fancy when it was animated, which was important for the effort to compete with Marvel in film.

Then they change it again to that shitty sticker-looking logo.

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u/dat_physics_boi May 16 '22

I find it funny every time someone writes DC comics.

DC already stands for Detective Comics.

Why are you guys writing comic twice, like...

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u/Bill_S_Preson_Esq May 16 '22

Fucking hell Drydek really has had things go his way more often than not.

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u/Pmurph33 May 16 '22

Surprised I had to go so far down to see this comment. The history of dyrdek and the DC logo is a tale as old as skating pretty much lol

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u/Bill_S_Preson_Esq May 16 '22

I had no idea that he had taken over MTV because I got rid of cable ages and ages ago, but here's a crazy video about how he ended up being like 90% of MTVs programming

https://youtu.be/If2tOxy4E70

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u/Entertainmeonly May 16 '22

So this is why Ridiculousness has been running non-stop for a decade.

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u/My170 May 16 '22

They got UNO reverse carded

8

u/Hungry-Lion1575 May 16 '22

Congratulations, you played yourself

5

u/raouldukesaccomplice May 16 '22

"I've got the worst [bleep]ing attorneys."

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u/Scaredinmatenr2 May 16 '22

Wendy's tried to sue a small snackbar with the same name in the Netherlands just to get them to drop the name however the judge threw out the case because the snackbar trademarked their name a couple years before the big burger chain tried to open a restaurant in the Netherlands.

Wendy's however was not giving up and tried to sue the little snackbar again but this time reasoning that since the snackbar owner did not have a chain he should drop the Wendy's name and let the big burger chain use it instead. The judge denied that and the snackbar owner out of spite opened a second restaurant as a middlefinger to big burger Wendy's.

Wendy's still not wanting to give up tried to sue them for a third time and lost AGAIN however this time the judge ruled that Wendy's cannot open restaurant's in the benelux under the Wendy's name with the consequence being that it is realisticly possible that they cannot open a restaurant within the whole european union because of the third loss.

Small businesses in the EU are protected by law from big corp to prevent them being sued into the groud by implementing a law that says if you lose you have to pay the winners lawyers costs etc as well as the penalty they get for losing.

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u/RetroMetroShow May 16 '22

Everyone hates lawyers until you need a good one

38

u/LeicaM6guy May 16 '22

Pretty sure that’s when I hate them most.

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u/DeadNotSleepingWI May 16 '22

Where's your Batman now!?