Kaiser, F., Cuntz, A., & Peukert, C. (2023). Batman forever? The role of trademarks for reuse in the US comics industry. Research Policy, 52(8), 104820.
We study how trademarks affect reuse of creative works in the comics industry. As a creative industry, the comics industry systematically relies on copyrights. But trademark protection can also be exploited to generate income from the reuse of comic characters or to strategically exclude others from reuse. Our unique data set combines US trademark records of comic characters with information on reuse in print media and franchise products from 1990 to 2017. We find that, on average, additional trademark protection is associated with a reduction in reuse in printed comic books of about 19%. We highlight three mechanisms: first, the negative relationship between trademarking and reuse has been especially pronounced since the early 2000s, when the arrival of digital technologies lowered the costs of entry, promotion, and distribution. Second, our results are driven by less reuse by third parties, not trademark holders. Third, reuse is higher when trademark owners license comic characters to third parties. The negative association between trademarking and reuse carries over to franchise products, but it is weaker and tied to the era of digitization, with a 2% decline in reuse in franchise movies and 9% lower reuse in video games.
Priem, M., Kaiser, F., & Schupp, J. (2020). Zufriedener denn je - Lebensverhältnisse in Deutschland 30 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall. Informationsdienst Soziale Indikatoren, 64, 7-15.
October 3, 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the German reunification. However, three decades have not yet been enough to completely equalize life satisfaction between East and West Germans. After a continuous shrinking of the "happiness gap" of self-reported life satisfaction in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the difference was smaller than ever in 2018, but had not been completely overcome. This is the conclusion of our analysis, which is based on data from the 2018 survey year of the long-term German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study.
Kaiser, F. (2020). “Diversity and overlapping IP rights in the comic world.” WIPO Magazine, 2020 (4).
Who is your favorite comic superhero? Batman? Wonder Woman? Black Panther? Comic superheroes are an integral part of contemporary pop culture and a multi-billion dollar global industry. New research by WIPO reveals that, over the last 40 years, Batman, Dracula and Spiderman are the top three most-used franchise characters for movies and video games in the United States, the world’s biggest media market. Franchises are derivative works which build on characters developed in original creative works for use in a variety of mediums.