Marvel Characters, Inc., a subsidiary company of The Walt Disney Company, is gearing up for what may be a lengthy trademark opposition. Wanda Group Ltd. (officially known as the Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd.), a large conglomerate based in Hong Kong, China, is ready to go toe to toe with the big Marvel over its trademark application for the mark “WANDAVISION” (U.S. Serial No. 88524671). Marvel filed the trademark application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office on July 19, 2019, and the trademark was finally published for any opposition challenges on May 12, 2020.
(FUN FACT: Marvel has actually filed five different trademark applications for “WANDAVISION” (see U.S. Serial Nos. 88524681, 88524622, 88524627, 88524664, and 88524671) in international classes 041, 009, 016, 025, and 028, respectively. However, the only application number listed in this opposition proceeding is serial no. 88524671 in international class 028.)
The list of items up for opposition in serial no. 88524671 is massive, much too large to list here, but it appears that the Wanda Group will try to block Marvel on several toys and consumer goods with the mark. If you recognize the name “Wanda Group”, but are not quite sure why it sounds so familiar, it’s probably because they are the majority shareholder of AMC Theaters, owning approximately 49.85% of AMC’s outstanding common stock as of December 31, 2019.
Wandavision, one of the next upcoming series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany returning to their roles as Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, and Vision. It is yet unknown whether this opposition proceeding will delay the release schedule for Wandavision on Disney+, which was last known to be released in December 2020. Apparently, the series was still in production when filming was abruptly halted in March, most likely due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Wanda Group was granted their first 30-day extension to file its official opposition notice on June 1, 2020 (see TTAB opposition number). They have until July 11 to either file a second request for an extension, or to file their opposition papers. If they can work out some kind of compromise with Marvel before they run out of possible extensions, they may be able to avoid this lengthy proceeding altogether.