A Small Spanish Soccer Club Is Battling DC Comics Over Bat Logo
If we've gleaned one thing from watching the numerous "Batman" films over the years, it's this: Gotham City stole architecture ideas from Pittsburgh and Chicago, and coming at Batman usually ends with at least one broken bone.
While Spanish soccer club Valencia CF didn't actually come at Batman or DC Comics, it's defending itself over using a bat on club promotions. Five years ago, DC came at Valencia over using the bat logo, but nothing really came of it. According to The Sun, Valencia says that DC Comics submitted a new complaint to the European Union Intellectual Property Office over the use of the bat logo on its celebratory design.
The problem with DC Comics' claim is that Valencia has been wearing a bat on its shirts for 100 years now, and the bat logo it's using for promotions is to advertise its centennial celebration this year.
— Kerberooz (@kerberooz) March 23, 2019
DC Comics alleged that using the design created a "likelihood of confusion," according to USA Today. Valencia's response was ... interesting.
"We are not going to stop using the bat because DC Comics says it," a club spokesperson told The Sun. "There is no commercial brand that has a worldwide exclusive on bats. When this club played with a bat in the chest, in the United States they were chasing bison."
The spokesperson is technically correct. Valencia first introduced the bat on its crest in 1919, the year of its founding, as the bat was used in the town of Valencia's coat of arms. The current design of the bat was first used in 1921.
For comparison, Batman first appeared in 1939.
In the meantime, the law firm representing Valencia said that both parties "have requested an extension of the 'cooling off' period to negotiate a possible deal." This period of time can extend to Oct. 30 of next year. If they can't agree on anything at that time, then it's a matter for the court to decide.
The new bat logo that DC Comics doesn't like won't necessarily go away after this 100th year, however, and that could be the root of the problem. USA Today reported that it's included on a plaque at the club's stadium, and will be used to "complement" the current design in the future.
"The club reinforces its association with the bat, which is one of the most emblematic symbols of the city," the club said, according to USA Today. "It's an innovative design that looks into the future."
It is no doubt similar to the Batman logo, especially the gritty ones used for Christopher Nolan's recent "Dark Knight" franchise. But, again, Valencia has been using a bat for much longer than Bruce Wayne co-opted it, so you'd think they get preferential treatment here.