There is nothing Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy ,enjoys more than I quite night at home sipping a fine glass of Italian wine….until he saw the label. DC Comics has opposed an Italian winery’s attempt to register the THE DARK KNIGHT trademark for wine claiming that it would be confused with DC’s Dark Knight.
One year ago, Beringer Blass Italia, S.R.L. (just rolls off the tongue) filed an intent to use trademark registration for the THE DARK KNIGHT trademark for “wines”. This company (I am not typing out the whole name again) runs a castle that has been turned into a hotel in the Chianti Classico wine region of Italy. Don’t complain about the service our you will be throne into the dungeon. The hotel also has a winery that produces several kinds of wines. Why they would want to trademark THE DARK KNIGHT for wine is a bit perplexing.
DC Comics is not a stranger to the Trademark Office and vigorously protects its marks. In fact, DC Comics has battled other DARK KNIGHT wines in the past. THE DARK KNIGHT is, of course, Batman’s nickname and was first applied to him in Batman No. 1 which debuted in 1940. Since then, the name has graced some very famous comic book runs and even the Christopher Nolan movies. Due to its long established use of the mark it has become quite famous and synonymous with Batman and DC Comics.
It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that confusion between the two DARK KNIGHTS is likely. DC Comics argues that registration of this mark is likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, or to deceive the public into the false belief that the goods offered by the winery come from or are otherwise sponsored by or connected with Opposer, Meaning if you saw THE DARK KNIGHT wine on the menu, you would be confused and think the wine is associated with Batman and DC Comics when it is not.
The winery, since this is an intent to use mark, is not yet distributing the wine and can change the name of the product before it is released to avoid the fight or it could answer the opposition and say that confusion is not likely. To be continued in the next issue.