Friday, 17 October 2014

Trademark Law and the Batmobile with Glenn Duker, Lawye

The intricacies of trademark law can be a headache, that’s why it’s always a good idea to have a lawyer and solicitor like Glenn Duker in your corner – for experience and sound advice.

At what point is a car no longer a mere car? When does it become a character? Apparently the Batmobile has entered such rarefied air with a recent ruling in California. A judge decreed that the owner of a specialty, custom-made Batmobile garage was infringing upon the rights of Warner Bros. by creating a series of replica vehicles.

The judge insisted that the Batmobile was indeed, “a copyright character that exists in both two and three dimensional forms,” he added that the, “defendant did not copy the design of a mere car; he copied the Batmobile character”.

This case is an invaluable example of a product, or vehicle, transcending regular copyright law and becoming intrinsically linked with its fictional source material. The car itself has enjoyed a long history; debuting in comic books in 1941, on television screens in the 60’s, and became a pop culture icon in Tim Burton’s 1989 big screen version.

The defendant argued exercising caution in granting such unprecedented rights to a vehicle. The argument being - what’s to stop rival car manufacturers such Toyota, Honda and Ferrari from producing a series of comic books in an attempt to copyright certain styles of their own vehicles? The judge confirmed his stance, stating that it had been a ‘character’ across several platforms for a very long time.

Also in favour of Warner Bros. is the implication that, as they own the rights, they may one day wish to expand their business to the manufacture and sale of replica Batmobile vehicles. All in all, it was a bad day for the Californian garage owner.

If you have an idea that may potentially step on the toes of trademark and copyright law, be sure to sound out the experience of a lawyer and solicitor like Glenn Duker – someone you can trust.

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