The world of children is full of stories about superheroes who manage to save the world. Even if the most famous character that comes to mind is Batman, the first superhero comic that was ever published was called Obadiah Oldbuck, a comic book that was very popular during the 1830s. Quickly, this whole context turned into a profitable industry.
The powers of superheroes
The story of the young orphan who was bitten by a radioactive spider and acquires supernatural powers is known by almost every human being. First appearing in Amazing Fantasy magazine in 1962, it soon became one of the best-selling comics in Marvel’s history. Spiderman’s popularity has turned into a golden age for comic book enthusiasts with this character being one of the most appreciated and loved in the entire Marvel collection.
Probably one of the biggest franchises out there today is Batman. From cartoons to TV shows and movies, this comic character is loved and admired for his human status even if his skills are limited to a few gadgets that he uses and a lot of money. The Dark Knight movie trilogy was the highest-grossing of all time.
The powers of IP specialists
But the question is: how are these characters protected against possible infringements? Given the fact that copyrights or trademarks could protect such IP assets, the purpose of each asset must be considered. Thus, the copyrights that the holders own come with the negotiation of several licenses for the use of the characters in different films, which means very high costs for the producers of the films or manufacturers of the games. In other words, this means barriers for franchisees who do not want to have franchised copyright holders.
On the other hand, there is the problem of trademarks, which manage to build a strong brand and increase the marketing value of that character. By registering a trademark, you help promote that character by encouraging the media to cooperate with trademark owners. Another significant difference between the two types of IP assets lies in the purpose of the copyright, namely, protecting the economic interests of rights holders. Unlike the purpose of trademarks that help consumers, simplifying the process of verifying the authenticity of products sold.
A study by WIPO found that there was a significant increase in sales when video games benefited from trademark registration. In addition to increasing the level of sales, these video games that are protected also benefit from a certain popularity of the brand, which offers consumers a degree of security by observing the simple detail of the registered trademark. This whole study confirms the fact that in the markets of intellectual property rights characterized by transparency, the big franchises are much more prone to the transaction of IP assets.
The problem that will arise in the future is represented by the transfer of these copyrights and trademarks in the public domain, leaving the subject of consecutive rights and media convergence up for debate. How these assets will be divided and who will be the most involved parties in this whole process represent only opportunities for new, enlightening studies.