25. September 2023


We all know him and yet the good guy literally leads a shadowy existence: Batman. He doesn’t seem to be at the top of the children’s popularity scale when you look at the costumes at the kindergarten carnival. Ten times Spiderman, maybe one Superman and lots of ice queens … but Batman? Not a thing.

The European Court of Justice has now ruled on an interesting case (Case T-735/21 | Aprile and Commerciale Italiana v EUIPO – DC Comics). An Italian manufacturer of carnival costumes claimed that the Batman logo was devoid of distinctive character and descriptive. It should therefore not have been registered as a trade mark and should be declared invalid. The case concerned the well-known representation of a bat in an oval circle. Presumably, the manufacturer wanted to remove an obstacle to the distribution of its Batman carnival costumes by cancelling the trade mark.

However, the European Court of Justice rejected the application. Reason: The Batman logo is always associated with the corresponding publisher (DC Comics). Because of this distinctive character, the mark was capable of identifying the goods as originating from a particular undertaking and thus distinguishing them from the goods of other undertakings.


As a superhero fan, I am of course familiar with DC Comics. I also found the series “Titans” on Netflix worth watching. However, I have my doubts as to whether everyone else inevitably associates the character Batman with DC Comics.

The author

Philipp Beck

Fachanwalt für Urheber- & Medienrecht
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