September 7, 2021

IP Goes Pop! Ep #7: Proximity Wars – Character Battles in the World of Comic Books

Take a nostalgic trip to the magazine rack of yesteryear with IP attorneys Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue (also an avid comic book collector) for an entertaining discussion on the latest episode of IP Goes Pop! about comic books characters and how those characters may be protected by intellectual property. Travel back to the 1950s and 1960s when DC and Marvel superheroes like Superman and Batman and Spider-Man first jumped off the comic book pages onto small screens in households around the world.

Revisit the emergence of superhero movies on the big screen in the late 1970s/ with Marvel bringing The Incredible Hulk to television during the same time. (Quick trivia note- the first appearance of Thor and Daredevil coming to life “on screen” was actually in the 1988 series The Incredible Hulk Returns.)

The conversation naturally turns to the pivotal release of Marvel’s Ironman in 2008 which ushers in the modern-day Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), setting in motion a franchise with more than 23 films.

This episode’s wide-ranging IP and pop culture topics touch on the significance of the IP value acquired by Disney in the Marvel acquisition, comic book trivia, and some comic characters that are surprisingly similar in costumes and abilities.

Comic book aficionados of all ages will enjoy this captivating podcast installment.

In this episode

  • Comic book characters and their emergence into popular culture
  • The modern era of comic book superheroes
  • The Marvel and DC (Detective Comics) Universes
  • The iconic DC Justice League characters
  • Copyright protection for characters and one special car
  • Famous “super” intellectual property disputes
  • “Super” IP Cases:
    • Nichols v. Universal, (2d Cir. 1930)
    • Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc., (2d Cir. 1940)
    • Warner Bros. Pictures v. CBS, (9th Cir. 1954)
    • Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates, (N.D. Cal. 1972)
    • DC Comics v. Towle, (9th Cir. 2015) “Batmobile – TV & Movie Cars Gallery | Barris Kustom Industries”
    • Anderson v. Stallone, (C.D. Cal. 1989)
    • Toho v. William Morrow & Co., (C.D. Cal. 1998)
  • A trivia game on the similarities between some DC and Marvel characters


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