DC Comics is concerned that use of "Kryptonite" in this way could harm the name, which the creators coined to describe the radioactive rock from Superman's home planet Krypton that fell to Earth and which is deadly to Superman.
In addition to using the term, an advertisement describes the range as Wella's "hair gel products with the strongest hold" giving clear reference to its Superman origins.
DC Comics has alleged that because Kryptonite gel appears with a TM symbol, the public might think there is an association between the gel and the character, allowing Wella to benefit from the Superman brand without having obtained permission from DC.
The term Kryptonite was first used in the series in 1943 as part of a radio broadcast of 'Superman'.
DC Comics is claiming that Kryptonite, which is depicted in the 'Superman' series as glowing green shards of rock, is immediately recognised by the public because of its prominence in the story and its effect on Superman.
"As is undoubtedly well-known throughout the world, DC coined the term Kryptonite to represent an element from Superman's home planet, Krypton," DC Comics said in the lawsuit filing.
DC discovered the hair gel in February and wrote to Wella to ask them to stop using it, which the company is alleged to have refused to do.
In the lawsuit, DC seeks unspecified damages and a ruling stopping California-based Wella from using the word as a brand name for its green hair gel. DC names Wella Corporation, and its parent Wella AG, in the suit.
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