The Batman logo has been deemed distinctive enough by the Court of Justice of the European Union to keep rogue Italian retailers at bay…
The Joker couldn’t beat him. Two-Face and Poison Ivy gave it a good go and stumbled. Even the back-breaking Bane fell short. And now, an Italian clothing retailer joins the disappointed rogues gallery, having failed to beat Batman in a trademark fight.
DC Comic’s Batman has won a trademark bat-tle with an Italian clothing retailer after Europe’s second-top court sided with an EU patent office, ruling that the Batman logo is distinctive enough to warrant its EU trademark.
The company Commerciale Italiana and Luigi Aprile wanted to use an image of a black bat inside a white oval frame on its products, and tried to prove that people don’t always link the bat sign to the Caped Crusader.
However fictional though the orphan-turned-crimefighter-with-a-troubling-Chiroptera-fetish may be, he still has rights.
The attempt to invalidate DC Comics’ trademark on clothing, which the comic creator has held for just over 25 years, has fallen through, as the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled, in the Case T-735/21, that “the evidence submitted to the General Court is not sufficient to show that the EU trade mark representing a bat in an oval surround was devoid of distinctive character”. Furthermore, the court stated that “the mere fact that that trade mark is associated with a fictitious character, that is, Batman, does not, in itself, make it possible to rule out that that trade mark can also serve as an indication of the origin of the goods in question.”
They also added that “that distinctiveness makes it possible to associate, according to EUIPO, the goods covered by the trademark with DC Comics and to distinguish them from those of other undertakings.”
Commerciale Italiana Srl previously failed to win European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) support to cancel the trademark obtained by DC Comics in 1998, and had asked the General Court to reverse that refusal. To no avail. The Italian company can still take its grievance to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s highest on points of law.
We’re betting that the verdict will be similar, leading us to the conclusion that no one messes with the Batman. After all, he is bat to the bone.
We’ll get our capes. Sorry, coats.