Brainiac versus the Toyman

Here’s a piece of both comic-book trivia and IP trivia that I didn’t previously know: the DC character Brainiac – humanoid computer and frequent Superman antagonist – originally was just some green alien guy Brainiacand (despite his computer-sounding name) not a computer at all. But when the prior inventor of a toy computer likewise named Brainiac raised legal objections to the use of the name, DC and the inventor reached an imaginative win-win compromise: DC made their Brainiac more (rather than less) like the original they were accused of infringing – i.e., made him a computer – thus turning the character into an ad for the toy and so obviating the toymaker’s objections. The issue of Superman that inaugurated this compromise even parodied the rights dispute on its cover by having Brainiac and Lex Luthor debating which of them has a better right to kill Superman. Details here.

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One Response to Brainiac versus the Toyman

  1. Black Bloke February 26, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    I wonder if this could translate into a common voluntaryist solution to conflicts in a world free of state backed IP?

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