If you've been holding out hope that DC Comics will one day get around to publishing Zero Hour 2: The Zeroest Hour, the long-awaited sequel to the cult-favorite 1994 super-mega-crossover event Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, you may want to sit down because we're afraid we've got some bad news. Sony is attempting to force DC to cancel the trademark for Zero Hour so that they can take it over for their upcoming video game, Firewall Zero Hour, which as far as we can tell has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of Zero Hour 2: The Zeroest Hour (which is obviously Hal Jordan realizing, you know what, he was right the first time around, going back to being Parallax again, and, presumably, killing Poison Ivy).
In a petition to the United States Patent and Trademark Office discovered by World Intellectual Property Review and filed last week, Sony is asking the USPTO to cancel DC's 1994 trademark for Zero Hour, which is currently preventing them from securing the Firewall Zero Hour trademark, which Sony says will cause them financial damage. Their logic? That DC abandoned the mark after publishing the Zero Hour limited series over 20 years ago.
A registered trademark is considered abandoned if its "use has been discontinued with intent not to resume such use." 15 U.S.C. § 1127 (2006). "Nonuse for 3 consecutive years shall be prima facie evidence of abandonment." Id.; Crash Dummy Movie, LLC v. Mattel, Inc., 601 F.3d 1387, 1391 (Fed. Cir. 2010). "'Use' of a mark means the bona fide use of such mark made in the ordinary course of trade, and not made merely to reserve a right in a mark." 15 U.S.C.A. § 1127 (2006)
Upon information and belief, Respondent used the Challenged Mark in connection with a limited comic book series entitled ZERO HOUR (the "Series").
Upon information and belief, Respondent only ever published the Series as a limited series in 1994 discontinued publishing the Series thereafter.
DC has until May 4th to respond to the petition, so we'll have to keep an eye on this one. But if Zero Hour 2 does get announced at WonderCon this weekend, well, you know why.