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Whataburger vs. Wonder Woman: Dawn of Logo Theft

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The burger chain isn’t happy with the superhero’s new symbol

Jim Ellwanger/Flickr

In perhaps the most unlikely superhero/villain rivalry of all time, Wonder Woman is going toe-to-toe with Texas-based burger chain Whataburger. In this case, the conflict has nothing to do with fighting crime or saving citizens from imminent disaster. Instead, the two are duking it out over trademark infringement.

The Houston Chronicle reports the San Antonio-based burger chain and DC Comics are “currently involved in what the chain terms as a ‘friendly trademark discussion’” regarding Wonder Woman’s recently redesigned “W” logo.

Whataburger’s been using its signature orange “Flying W” logo to sell burgers, fries, and shakes since 1972:

Wonder Woman’s original logo, trademarked in 1985, was strikingly similar to Whataburger’s:

But apparently Whataburger didn’t take issue with the logo similarity until just recently, when DC Comics revealed a new version of Wonder Woman’s logo ahead of a new movie set to be released in 2017. While it uses the same stacked “W” shape, this one actually seems less similar to Whataburger’s:

It seems doubtful that anyone will mistake Wonder Woman movie posters for Whataburger ads without that signature orange. The real issue here seems to be that while the Wonder Woman logo was previously used just to sell comic books, now it’s preparing to tread into new territory — including a slew of food and beverage products, which could create confusion.

In May, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records records, DC Comics filed to trademark “Wonder Woman” for use as a line of fruit and vegetable juices and sports drinks. A separate application was filed that same month to use the name for cookies, breakfast cereal, bubble gum, cake decorations, tea, and even “meat tenderizers for household purposes.” Applications for marmalades, milk substitutes, kitchen towels, and a line of plates and bowls were also filed. (No cheeseburgers or fries, however.)

“For this reason, Whataburger has opened a dialogue with DC Comics about ensuring each party’s respective rights and interests are recognized and protected,” says a Whataburger spokesperson.

If a court battle were to ensue, one of the parties (either Whataburger or DC Comics) could eventually be barred from using their current logo.

But so far, the discussions seem to be friendly — at least, according to the burger chain: Whataburger says it anticipates “a positive discussion with DC Comics and a resolution of that discussion that will be acceptable to both parties.” So what would constitute “acceptable” for Whataburger? If Wonder Woman could “continue to focus her efforts on keeping planet Earth safe from evil villains while Whataburger continues to make delicious, 100-percent beef burgers,” a spokesperson says.

In the meantime, has anyone spoken to Weezer about this?

Whataburger, DC Comics are Currently Discussing Wonder Woman's New Logo [Chron]
Wonder Woman vs. Whataburger: Confusion in the Marketplace [Bleeding Cool]