Over the weekend, I saw an article in the Hollywood Reporter (which incidentally likes to quote our very own Catlan McCurdy, like here and here) discussing the copyright dispute over the 1966 Batmobile. Warner Brothers and its subsidiary DC Comics sued the owner of Gotham Garage for trademark and copyright infringement of the Batmobile design. A picture of the car attributed to Gotham Garage is shown below.

Notably in the Batmobile case, there appears to be a company that is officially licensed to make replica 1966 Batmobiles, Fiberglass Freaks, which may be increasing the ante here.

In its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Warner Bros essentially argues that “copyright protection extends to the overall look and feel” of the Batmobile vehicle because it is a distinctive character, citing Halicki Films v. Sanderson Sales and Marketing, 547 F. 3d 1213 (9th Cir. 2008), a case involving one of my dream cars, Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds (swoon). If a replica Eleanor would infringe the copyright in the Eleanor character, is the Delorean next? Might car manufacturers like Ford, Chevy, and Bentley create comic books or movies that create copyright protection of the overall look and feel of an iconic car and extend protection against kit cars? Are we seeing an argument for an increasingly blurred line between the application of copyrights, trademark rights and patent rights – all of which have different temporal scopes of protection?

It’s not exactly a normal world, is it?