Mark Towle built and sold unauthorized replicas of the Batmobile as it appeared in the 1966 Batman TV show and in the 1989 BATMAN movie. DC Comics publishes and owns the copyright to the Batman comic books. DC Comics sued Towle for copyright infringement. Towle argued that the Batmobile was not subject to copyright protection, but even if it was, DC Comics did not own the copyrights to the Batmobile as it appeared in the 1966 TV show and the 1989 movie.
The district court ruled that the Batmobile was a character entitled to copyright protection, that DC owned the copyright in the Batmobile as it appeared in the 1966 TV show and the 1989 movie and that Towle infringed DC’s copyright. The district court granted DC’s motion for summary judgment on the copyright infringement claim. I blogged about the district court’s decision in Batmobile Not Excluded From Copyright Protection As a Matter of Law, Rules District Court. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s copyright decision.