Marvel is seeking legal action against numerous companies for their unlicensed use of the iconic Punisher skull logo on a variety of products.
Frank Castle may be known for his iconic insignia of the four-fanged skull, but beyond the comic books, movies, and TV shows of the Punisher, the logo has been used since the character's inception in 1974. Castle went on to become an anti-villain of the superhero world and clash with the likes of Wolverine, while his iconic skull symbol has become just as famous as the man himself.
With Marvel taking the fight to the courts, Bleeding Cool News reports that the Punisher's owners are going after a number of companies for replicating the logo, and have focused their efforts in particular on HHT Group for infringements on:
“parts of motorcycles, namely, master cylinders, brake levers and shift levers; structural parts of motorcycles; components and parts of motorcycles, namely, handle bar ends, bolts toppers, chain guards, crash bars, derby cover, aerodynamic fairing bolts and fairing kit for vehicles, foot pegs, frame slider, gas cap, grab rails, handlebar grips, handlebar riser, horn cover, kickstand, lamp clamp, lowering links, luggage rack, mirror block off base plates, fitted motorcycle cover, radiator grille guard cover, saddlebag bracket, seats, sissy bar, backrest, stator cover, stay bracket, switching housing cover, and windscreen…”
The list goes on and on, but Loyalty Bound LLC of Texas is also being looked into for beverage can cosies. Also embroiled in the argument is merchandise inspired by military sniper Chris Kyle, who was focus of Oscar-winning American Sniper, and also became famous for using a skull symbol before his death.
Given that the Punisher logo is so close to a standard skull and crossbones or the universal sign of death, it makes it increasingly hard for Marvel to verify that its entity is being ripped off. However, in certain cases where they can prove it is a direct copy, expect the full might of the comic book company to come down hard on the copycats. With Netflix's Punisher having recently aired on the streaming giant, it only makes sense that Marvel is trying to keep a tighter rein on merchandising rights about now.
Importantly, the four-fanged skull means different things to different people. There are undoubtedly those who have never picked up a Frank Castle-centric comic who will associate the logo with Kyle and American Sniper. The use of the skull on the vests of soldiers fighting ISIS in Tikrit has also become a global symbol for hope rather than just the stencil of a comic book vigilante. Marvel may have difficulty winning the case on all fronts, but this legal action is a warning shot to anyone hoping to cash in on the hype of the Punisher and his bloodthirsty ways.
Source: Bleeding Cool News