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Supreme Court stays out of Batmobile case, a victory for DC Comics’ copyright crusade

This October 2012 file photo shows the original Batmobile in Los Angeles. Batman's original ride, from the 1960s TV series,  sold at auction for $4.2 million  in 2013. (Associated Press)
This October 2012 file photo shows the original Batmobile in Los Angeles. Batman's original ride, from the 1960s TV series, sold at auction for $4.2 million in 2013. (Associated Press)
Ryan Faughnder Los Angeles Times

Pow! Zap! Bam! DC Comics has won its crusade against Batmobile duplicates.

The comic book publisher’s legal battle with a Temecula, Calif., mechanic over knockoffs of Batman’s prized vehicle won’t go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Monday, the high court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that said the Batmobile couldn’t be replicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright owner.

Mark Towle had been producing versions of Batman’s vehicle as it appeared in the 1966 Adam West television program and the 1989 Tim Burton-directed movie about the caped crusader.

DC, part of Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio, sued Towle in 2011, claiming copyright infringement.

In September, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal said the car’s “bat-like” features and other characteristics – including its futuristic weaponry and technology – made it a character that can’t be copied without permission.

Batman will next appear on the big screen in Warner Bros.’ “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which hits theaters March 25.

George Barris, who created the Batmobile for West’s show, died last year at 89.

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