DC wins Batmobile copyright suitSeptember 28, 2015 5:44 pm Leave your thoughts
No matter his opponent, Batman always seems to have one last trick or secret up his sleeves to give him the edge he needs to triumph. The Caped Crusader has taken on the likes of the mafia, magicians, gods, and even Superman, and it looks like his latest victory is in the realm of intellectual property.
The 9th United States Circuit of Appeals on Wednesday, September 23 upheld a ruling against a manufacturer of replica Batmobiles, claiming that the Dark Knight's signature vehicle is distinct enough to warrant intellectual property protection.
"As Batman so sagely told Robin, 'In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential,'" wrote Judge Sandra Ikuta in the court's unanimous opition.
The defendant in the case, Mark Towle, sold replica Batmobiles for about $90,000 apiece. His attorney expressed disappointment in the ruling, claiming that the law specifically states that automotive designs cannot be copyrighted. "My client just sells cars," he says.
Towle called his business "Gotham Garage," he makes a living off of not only selling Batmobiles, but replicas of a whole host of fictional vehicles. DC first sued him over his line of Batmobiles in 2011, and a lower court judge ruled in the comic juggernaut's favor.
According to Judge Ikuta, the Batmobile could be protected under copyright law because "no matter its specific physical appearance, the Batmobile is a 'crime-fighting' car with sleek and powerful characteristics that allow Batman to maneuver quickly while he fights villains."
If you are in the middle of a copyright dispute, or if you think someone else is profiting from your work, it is important to speak with a skilled Arizona business attorney. A lawyer can help protect your rights in case of litigation.
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