Driving the Batmobile Straight to the Supreme Court

As you may know, if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, for the past four years I’ve been defending Mark Towle of Gotham Garage in a lawsuit brought by DC Comics.  Mark is one of the leading purveyors of replica automobiles in the country, and he was sued by DC for copyright infringement for making life-size, working replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles.

What Mark does is absolutely allowed under U.S. Copyright Law because Congress specifically stated that the design of an automobile (any automobile, even the Batmobile) is not protected by copyright because it is a “useful article” and “useful articles” cannot be copyrighted.

Unfortunately, when we took this argument to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 9th Circuit created a huge exception to this rule, stating that if the car could be considered a “character” then it was protected by copyright, despite the fact that Mark did not copy any of the Batmobiles from the comic books.

So, to right this wrong, myself, along with Ed McPherson and Tracy Rane of McPherson Rane filed a petition for cert yesterday, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to correct this injustice and overreach of copyright law.  I will let you know when we get word of their answer.  Here’s a link to the Petition for Cert. And here’s a link to the documents in the Appendix (for those really interested).  Finally, the Hollywood Reporter did a write up on the petition and you can read that here.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Copyright

2 responses to “Driving the Batmobile Straight to the Supreme Court

  1. Pingback: Holy copyright baloney, Batman! | LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®

  2. It would seem that if the Batmobile was a car like Bumble Bee in Transformer, then it could be considered a character. The Batmobile was just a car that Batman drove.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s