Garmin-Barracuda’s victory dance following David Zabriskie’s time trial trouncing that gave him the stage win and the overall lead at the Amgen Tour of California was short-lived, after it was divulged today that Marvel Studios was considering a copyright infringement suit against the team.
The violation in question was the usage of the star and circle symbol synonymous with the Marvel Studios character Captain America, who recently appeared in the production company’s runaway smash hit The Avengers this month.
Word from anonymous sources verified that Garmin-Barracuda boss Jonathan Vaughters did, in fact, receive a cease and desist letter. The fear of legal reprisal prompted their team mechanic to remove the Captain America affiliated symbol from the disk wheel on Zabriskie’s time trial bike, but there wasn’t time to modify Zabriskie’s distinctive kit.
Zabriskie himself issued a statement after being approached by the AToC media posse on the possible lawsuit.
“I really could care less what a movie studio thinks. Chris Evans doesn’t do lycra as well as I do. In fact I don’t even think he owns a bike, which means his lycra wearing is rather questionable, and in fact, makes him an invalid example of the American way of life,” stated Zabriskie in his trademark laconic nonsensical soundbites.
Marvel Studio head Avi Arad was asked for a comment about the alleged copyright infringement suit, and took time away from promotion of The Avengers to offer his comments.
“I cannot confirm or deny any pending action against the cycling team whose use of our trademarked symbolism may or may not have inflicted damage on our brand. Thankfully, no one really pays attention to cycling in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like Lance Armstrong was using our trademarked property. If it had been Lance, than we probably would have already filed suit, as Lance is the only thing on two wheels this country pays attention to anyhow.” Arad continued, “Maybe we’ll just offer to take over the cycling team in lieu of payment and use them for movie promotion. Their Aussie kid is a dead ringer for Mark Ruffalo.”
Anonymous sources inside the Garmin-Barracuda team say they have been experimenting with altering the symbol design in order to prevent a potential lawsuit. It appears, however, that the graphic reworking turns it into a pentagram, a symbol already under the trademark domain of Johan Bruyneel. No word yet whether Vaughters was entering into any negotiations with Bruyneel for pentagram permission.
Trademark violations are nothing new for the Garmin-Barracuda team. The Vaughters-led team also successfully fought off an Argyle lawsuit filed against them by the famous luxury watch designer, Chopard, which led to an absence of Argyle from the team during part of the 2011 season until the disagreement was resolved.
Cyclismas will be following the brewing battle between Garmin-Barracuda and Marvel Studios for possession of the iconic symbol.
Stage 6 heads up to Big Bear Lake on Friday.