The Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader. The one and only Batman. We all know and love Batman. He’s been an icon around the world for decades. But like most famous fictional icons, there’s probably intellectual property protection covering Batman and Batman related things. Let’s take a look at some of the intellectual property protection that may cover the Dark Knight.
Copyright may be one of the forms of intellectual property protections that cover Batman. Copyrights generally protect original works of authorship, and authorship include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.
Thus, certain Batman related products can fall into one of these categories. For example, Batman books may fall under category (1) literary works while Batman related movies like The Dark Knight Rises (my favorite movie to date), would probably fall under category (6) motion pictures and audiovisual works.
Click here to see more on authorship categories.
The Protection that Copyright Provides
If a work obtains copyright protection, then certain rights attach to that work under 17 USC § 106. These rights include:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
To read 17 USC § 106, click here.
Copyrights and Batman
Since the copyright owner of Batman has the right to reproduce copyrighted works of Batman, this may imply that others are not allowed to reproduce copies of copyrighted Batman works. Moreover, producing spin-off versions of that copyrighted Batman may not be allowed either without consent from the copyright owner.
Trademarks generally protect marks or indicia that can serve as source identifiers. Think of the Swoosh check mark logo and how you can associate it with Nike, Inc. The word “Batman” itself is trademarked and owned by DC Comics Warner Communications LLC (or DC comics for short). There are various other Batman related trademarks that are also owned by DC, which include:
- BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE: Dawn of Justice (Serial No. 86332922)
- BEWARE THE BATAMN (Serial No. 85871493)
- BATMAN BEYOND (Serial No. 75786494)
- BATMAN’S DETETCIVE COMICS (Serial No. 81100712)
- And various others!
There’s a possibility that there is patent protection on certain Batman related things. However, there are different types of patents, and each type of patent will protect different kinds of things. Design patents will generally protection some ornamental feature while utility patents will cover some invention with a function.
The Batmobile is covered by a design patent, which is US D311,822. This more or less is designed to protect how the Batmobile looks. The Batmobile is easily one of the most distinct and recognizable vehicles in the Batman universe and any fan can recognize the Batmobile by its one of a kind design.
Click here to see the entire patent on the Batmobile.
There was also a design patent on Batman’s mask. That patent is US D329,321 and titled “Head Dress.” Although some may say the design isn’t super flashy, it’s still one of the most iconic masks of all time.
Click here to see the entire Batman mask patent.
The Batwing is also covered by a design patent, which is US D321,732 and titled “Aerial Toy.” This is a design patent for the Batwing’s unique shape. The sleek design makes the Batwing one of the coolest looking air crafts of all time.
Click here to see the entire patent on the Batwing.
What are your thoughts on the possible intellectual property that covers Batman? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!
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Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. It is only for educational or entertainment purposes only. Please do not use the article or contents of the article without permission. For legal advice and questions, please contact registered Patent Attorney Vincent LoTempio.