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Batman is top franchise character for movies and gaming

New research from WIPO shows the Caped Crusader is the most used franchise character for movies and gaming over the past four decades.

Batman, Dracula and Spider-man are the top three most-used franchise characters from movies and video games in the world’s biggest media market over the past four decades.

This is according to the first instalment in new research from the WIPO, which was unveiled during Frankfurt Book Fair.

The first in the series of Creative Economy Notes – called Batman forever? Do overlapping trademark and copyright frameworks affect the franchising of comic characters? – looked at the usage of comic and other characters in US-based cinema and gaming between 1980-2019.

It explores how character owners may trademark their characters in addition to protecting them under the copyright framework (commonly used to protect creative works) and what this means in economic and policy terms. All told, these three franchise characters have together generated some $5.89 billion in revenue over the period, WIPO’s research shows.

Batman had 157 appearances, Dracula notched up 108 and Spider-man accounted for 94. Darth Vader (89) and Mickey Mouse (83) made up the top five.

“Comic and other franchise characters like Batman have entertained generations of children and adults alike and are a great example of how intellectual property systems help ensure these characters can adapt and remain popular even as technologies and platforms evolve,” said Daren Tang, WIPO director general.

Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, added: “The convergence of the media industries, and the impact of digitisation, means that the film and gaming sectors are evolving at an extraordinary rate right now. As a result, the potential revenue from associated licensing and sales is also enormous.

“So, it is more important than ever before to establish the correct processes to ensure that character owners can safely trademark their works. We all have a part to play in protecting intellectual property rights and I am pleased that the results of this survey will help to shine a light on how the creative economy is evolving.”

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