Silly: Company sues WB for using its trademark in movie

If you are one of those who watched the movie, The Dark Knight Rises released in 2012, you will find this post a bit interesting and be able to understand the rationale behind this blog.

Usual blah blah

Trademark and other kinds of intellectual property are not new to India, but India is yet to witness some of the silliest trademark trolls in the upcoming days.  A more common objective for business owners and start-ups to get their marks registered is to mainly use the trademark symbols TM and R and to prevent others from using it.  The concept of monetizing is still in its infancy and is not popular or amusing for businesses.

No claim can really be silly until…!

Well, this trademark case is about two things:

1)  Why you should be prepared to defend a trademark infringement at least once in your lifetime.

2)  How courts should handle a baseless trademark claim?

Here is a classic case of trademark claim that is seen as a silly one, but we really wonder how a person with limited resources can fend such claims off.

Fortres Grand Vs Warner Brothers


This case involves a software company, Fortres Grand and a renowned movie production house, Warner Brothers.  This software company instituted a suit for the use of trademark “Clean Slate” which is a fictional software program used in the Batman movie.  The claim, as it stands, is quite baseless and does not fit the criteria for a trademark infringement; it is not even worth discussing here.  What really interesting in this case is the way the court handled it, had it not been handled the way it was, it could have caused a great deal of worry and confusion among the creative artists.  They may have to constantly worry about not infringing on someone else’s trademark.

The claim, without much ado, was dismissed by the district court.  The court observed, “no consumer – reasonable or otherwise – can believe the fictional ‘clean slate’ software in the movie emanates from, is sponsored by, or connected to Fortres Grand because the fictional software does not exist in reality.”

Warner Brothers is equipped with all guns and firearms to defend such claims but this would not have been possible for many.  Courts should not entertain these kind of frivolous claims and dismiss them promptly within a few days.