THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CN) — An Italian company did not get away with contesting the copyright of the Caped Crusader on Wednesday, as the EU’s second-highest court rejected a claim the logo was too generic.
The comic creator has held the rights to use the logo on everything from Halloween costumes to novelty buttons for nearly a quarter-century.
Naples-based Commerciale Italiana meanwhile argued that the logo — an oval with a bat representation inside — was too generic and accused the EUIPO of failing to not properly justify its rejection.
Luigi Aprile, Commerciale Italiana’s solo owner, wanted to be allowed to use the logo on a wide variety of goods, including T-shirts and party hats.
The Luxembourg-based court found that the image was clearly connected to the crime fighter…
The Italian company had asked EUIPO [European Union Intellectual Property Office] to annul the trademark for clothing and carnival items, saying that it lacked a distinctive character.
After EUIPO rejected its application, Commerciale Italiana Srl took its grievance to the Luxembourg-based General Court. Judges backed the EU trademark body.
So the question now is, How closely does an image have to be connected? Clearly some images are irrefutable.
But how about some others. Prince Valiant’s royal crest, Nancy’s three rocks, or Bizarro’s alien?
Would those pass muster in the European Court? Or even in a U.S. court?