Ingersoll-Rand's Kryptonite execs are probably seeing more lawyers than they like right now. On top of the Bic wrangle, DC Comics has come out best in the first stage of a long-running dispute over the use of the name usually associated with Superman.

REVISED: Kryptonite does not win ‘dilution’ case against DC Comics, owner of Superman brand

According to New York Lawyer magazine, a federal judge has ruled that the owner of the Superman franchise, DC Comics, owns a valid trademark in ‘Kryptonite’ that can be protected from "dilution and infringement" by the Kryptonite lock company, which has been using the name since 1972.

Southern District Judge Richard Owen issued several summary judgement in favour of DC Comics.

The Kryptonite Corp applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office in 1976 to register ‘Kryptonite bike locks in 1976.

In 1983, after years of correspondence, DC Comics and the company reached an agreement that allowed the limited use of three marks associated with the Kryptonite name as long as they were only for security devices and bicycle accessories, said New York Lawyer.

The company was not allowed to feature Superman – or even the word ‘super’ – in any promotions.

In the latest case, DC Comics claimed the express limitations in the agreement were breached in the 1990s when the Kryptonite Corp. applied for trademark applications for use of the Kryptonite trademark for items other than locks and bicycle accessories, and had used the word ‘super’ in advertising campaigns.

DC Comics filed suit alleging infringement, unfair competition and dilution of the trademark.

Ingersoll Rand PR director Paul Dickard told

"The court issued some preliminary ‘summary judgment rulings. None of these rulings end the case, which will proceed to trial."

Bermuda-based Ingersoll Rand owns the Kryptonite Corporation.

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