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To the Batmobile! DC Comics Sues Garage Over Batmobile Replicas

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 16, 2011 9:49 AM

To the copyright-infringing Batmobile, Robin! If you ever wanted your very own Batmobile, you might be out of luck. DC Comics is suing Mark Towles, owner of Gotham Garage, for making unlicensed and allegedly copyright-infringing copies of the Dark Knight's wheels.

Gotham Garage is located in Orange County, California. In the suit filed at a California District Court, DC Comics is alleging that Towles' Batmobiles are confusing to the public because they may think that he has the DC license to produce these imitations. They are asking for a permanent injunction, destruction of the Batmobiles, and $750,000 per infringement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The offending vehicles are pretty impressive - with gadgets, and slick paint. Towles is accused of infringing on the original Batmobile used in the 1966 "Batman" TV show. Gotham Garage's website has some pictures of Towles' replica, and the two are pretty similar.

If DC Comics really wants to protect its franchise and intellectual property, it might have to file a few more suits, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Copies of the Batmobile seem to be popping up everywhere. There's one at Utah State University, in the East Village in New York, and at a Ralph Lauren exhibit in Paris. Apparently, a Batmobile was also used as a getaway car in a Pennsylvania robbery. It seems like there is no shortage of superhero fans dying to take a spin in a Batmobile.

Even though the Batmobile has gone through many different iterations - the newest one being the tank-like vehicle in the recent Dark Knight film, DC Comics claims that all Batmobile versions are copyrighted and trademarked.

Copyrights protect intellectual property, such as ideas, information, technology, or written works. Trademarks, on the other hand, protect a businesses' name or slogan. If you do not have permission from DC Comics to sell "Batmobiles" - a name that is likely trademarked - you are infringing on their rights.

So, if you want your very own Batmobile, you should get one from someone who is licensed by DC Comics - though each one will cost you about $150,000.

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