More On That Batty Lawsuit: Do the Turks Have a Case?

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More On That Batty Lawsuit: Do the Turks Have a Case?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 @ 12:33AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Batman_turkey_2By now, news that the city of Batman, Turkey is suing Warner Bros. and "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan has spread wildly — and we weren't the only ones laughing about it.

But Warners shouldn't shrug it off entirely either.

After all, Europe has a long history of litigious rights-holders who derive their trademark claims from geographic lineage. The most famous example is the Czech city, Ceske Budejovice—abbreviated as Budweis—that has fought America's Anheuser-Busch for more than a century over the rights to "Budweiser." This dispute is crazy complicated and has provoked court decisions in more jurisdictions around the world than possibly any single legal dispute in human history. (From Sweden down to Africa to South Korea and everywhere else.)

Similarly, Champagne, Bordeaux wine, Roquefort cheese and Parma ham are just a few of the regional trademarks that inspire special protection in Europe.

Of course, as is clear by the examples, Europeans are particularly fussy about their food and wine. But still, it's worth noting that many European courts won't find the idea of Batman, Turkey, suing to protect its name as ridiculous as many in Hollywood might.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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