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Being a superhero is only a state of mind.

Superhero in disguise

Fariha Marjia
Superhero in disguise

A law student and entrepreneur from BPP University, armed with his trusted intellectual property law textbooks, has managed to win over a legal battle with the publishing giants Marvel and DC for the right to use the term “superhero”.

Graham Jules, currently an undergraduate of business law at BPP university, was about to launch his first self-help business book with the title “Business Zero to Superhero” back in 2014. The layout of the book was more like a comic with its own original artwork. However, the book never got to see the light of day as the author received various legal threats from both of the publishing houses, Marvel and DC comics. They claimed that Jules’s book title comprising of the term “Superhero” infringes their intellectual property rights.

The leading comic book publishing tycoons are fierce competitors but back in 1979, both the foes made truce in order to jointly trademark the term “Superhero”.

Jules without any professional legal representative took on the challenge and met the publisher’s lawyers in a legal battle that lasted for almost three years. Incredibly without any external assistance and just with the help of his text books about intellectual property law, Jules has managed to leave everyone of us awestruck with his accomplishment. Marvel and DC ended up dropping the case only days before its final date of hearing at London’s Intellectual Property Office.

In an interview with the author Jules, he revealed to have spent only $200 fighting this case, but like every cloud has a silver lining, he also let slip that he had spent over 200 hours hunched up in books, researching or drafting legal letters to the publisher’s lawyers. Jules, who is only days away from graduating, aspires to be a media lawyer one day saying, “The victory was a huge relief and made me feel just a little bit superhero like, after nearly three years of wrangling! I was advised by many to just change the title and it just goes to show what the ‘little guy’ can achieve with a little knowledge and persistence. I hope this result gives hope to all those who are in a similar situation.”

Jules also confessed how despite being offered “a couple of thousand pounds to change the title of the book” remained firm and persistent. He had already been fired from his training contract applications from several City firms. He believed that the term “Superhero” had become a commonly used term in our day-to-day conversations.

In the end, Marvel and DC excused themselves for dropping the case due to “commercial reasons”.

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