Trademark Suit won by Warner Bros

“The Dark Knight Rises,” is the final part of the Batman movie produced by Warner Bros. After release of the movie a computer company Fortres Grand filed suit against Warner Bros. for allegedly infringing Fortres Grand’s trademark for a security software called “Clean Slate.” Fortres Grand is a software manufacturing company that sells software, including “Clean Slate,” that protects and erasing all information of a previous user’s activity so that each new user of the computer begins with a “clean slate.” The disputed trademark appeared in the movie as a software referred to as “Clean Slate” which would help a character in the film erase her criminal history from all computer database in the world. This fictional software was also referenced four times in the movie. In addition to the above references two websites— and—created to promote the film also describe about the software.

In the case Judge Philip Simon of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana dismissed the case observing that the dispute involved a relatively uncharted territory of trademark law. The judge said that this dispute was between a fictional product and a real one. An important component of trademark infringement is “a likelihood of confusion among consumers as to the source” of origin of the product. Fortres Grand set forth its trademark infringement claim on “reverse confusion,” which occurs when a large junior firm infringes on a trademark similar to that of a smaller senior firm so that the public associates and confuses the senior firm’s product with that of the junior firm’s product. As per Judge Simon, in order to successfully assert a claim for reverse confusion, Fortres Grand must make credible allegations that Warner Bros “saturated the market with a product that the public has been deceived into believing . . . emanates from, is connected to, or is sponsored by” Fortres Grand. However, there is no way that Fortres Grand could accomplish this since the product that Warner Bros. saturated the market with was the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” and not the fictional software “Clean Slate.”

Hence, the court disregarded Fortres Grand’s claim, holding that Warner Bros.’ use of “Clean Slate” in “The Dark Knight Rises” did not infringe on Fortres Grand’s “Clean Slate” trademark since Fortres Grand could not assert consumer confusion and Warner Bros.’ use of “Clean Slate” was protected by the court.

Trademark Registration in Japan

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