‘Cap­tain Van­cou­ver’ in bat­tle with DC Comics

‘Su­per­hero’ re­al­tor faces law­suit threat

StarMetro Toronto - - BUSINESS - Wanyee Li Metro | Van­cou­ver

“This is Ian, Cap­tain Van­cou­ver.” That’s how Van­cou­ver real es­tate agent Ian Brett in­tro­duced him­self when Metro reached him for an in­ter­view Tues­day.

But it’s not his Cap­tain Van­cou­ver per­sona, named af­ter the city’s founder, Ge­orge Van­cou­ver, that has raised eye­brows at DC Comics — it’s his other claim, that he is a ‘Real Es­tate Su­per­hero,’ that has the com­pany’s lawyers threat­en­ing to sue.

Ac­cord­ing to a let­ter pub­lished on Brett’s web­site, DC Comics wants him to with­draw his trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tion for “Real Es­tate Su­per­hero” and to stop us­ing a red and yel­low shield sym­bol, rem­i­nis­cent of Superman’s ‘S’.

“While our client does not ob­ject to use of CAP­TAIN VAN­COU­VER to pro­mote your real es­tate busi­ness, use of SUPERMAN in­di­cia and the SU­PER HERO trade­marks is not per­mis­si­ble,” stated a Jan. 9, 2017 let­ter from Bere­skin & Parr, the Cana­dian in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty law firm rep­re­sent­ing DC Comics.

Brett’s web­site de­picts the re­al­tor in a blue 18th cen­tury Bri­tish naval-of­fi­cer out­fit with a shirt un­der­neath that fea­tures a six-point shield — but with a ‘Re’ for Re­al­tor in it in­stead of an S.

But Brett, who has worked as a full-time re­al­tor for four years, called DC Comics’ re­quest un­fair, char­ac­ter­iz­ing the fight as a David and Go­liath sit­u­a­tion.

Brett told Metro he is open to ne­go­ti­at­ing with DC Comics, par­tic­u­larly on the shield ref­er­ence. But in the mean­time, he is tak­ing a tongue-in-cheek ap­proach to ne­go­ti­at­ing with them, writ­ing back to Bere­skin & Parr as if the firm was Superman.

He signed off on the let­ter with this line: “Alas Superman, fear not, you will al­ways be the ‘Man of Steel’ just as I will al­ways be the ‘Man of Sales’.

Bere­skin & Parr did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment by dead­line.


Ian Brett, or Cap­tain Van­cou­ver, says dC Comics wants him to with­draw his trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tion for “real es­tate Su­per­hero.”

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