NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Kryptonite may hurt Superman, but it wasn't able to defeat the company that publishes his comic books in a federal court case.
Federal Judge Richard Owen refused to throw out a breach of contract claim that DC Comics filed against Kryptonite Corp., the bicycle lock company, according to the electronic court docket for the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.
DC Comics filed the suit in 2000 to block Kryptonite from going ahead with plans to use the word on such products as tote bags, briefcases, helmets, pants, jerseys and computer software, according to the New York Daily News. The paper said DC Comics argued a 1983 agreement between the companies limited the bike lock company to using the word on locks, bike accessories and handle bar grips.
The paper said that Owen found that Kryptonite, the ghastly green substance that can bring Superman to his knees, is clearly linked to the comic book hero.
"I find that Kryptonite is an element associated with Superman entertainment products and it is thus entitled to protection," Owen wrote in a 19-page decision, the News reported. The order was entered Sept. 16 and modified Sept. 21, according to the court's electronic docket.
The paper said that Kryptonite did not have a comment on the court decision. It quoted a DC Comics attorney as saying the company is pleased with the decision and is getting ready for trial.
DC Comics is a unit of Time Warner Inc. (TWX: Research, Estimates), as is CNN/Money. Kryptonite is a unit of Ingersoll Rand Co. (IR: Research, Estimates)
It is the second public relations setback this week for Kryptonite Co. The company announced earlier this week that it was offering what it termed a "sizable rebate" for customers who bought their locks more than two years ago after it was revealed those locks could be picked using a Bic pen.