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Holy court action! Can 'Dark Knight' beat Turkish mayor?

  • Story Highlights
  • "The Dark Knight" has been the biggest grossing film worldwide of 2008
  • Mayor of Turkish town of Batman threatens to sue film's director for copyright
  • Batman, population 250,000, also shares its name with a province and a river
  • Warner Bros, studio behind movie, says it is not aware of any court action
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(CNN) -- He's kerpowed the Joker and put the Penguin on ice, but Batman faces a new adversary -- the mayor of an oil-producing Turkish town.

The late Heath Ledger plays the Joker in "The Dark Knight," the most successful film of the year.

Huseyin Kalkan, leader of the city of Batman in southeastern Turkey, plans to sue Christopher Nolan, director of the latest Batman movie "The Dark Knight," for taking its name without consultation," according to media reports.

"The royalty of the name 'Batman' belongs to us... There is only one Batman in the world, " Hurriyet Daily News.com reported Kalkan as telling the Dogan news agency. "The American producers used the name of our city without informing us."

Kalkan, who represents the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, added that he decided to take action after someone suggested that the cash-strapped community needed more funds.

"We found this criticism right and started to look for legal possibilities of a case like that," Hurriyet Daily News.com reported.

Batman, which has a population of just under 250,000, is the provincial capital of the oil-rich Batman Province and lies close to the Batman River.

In recent years it has been hit by a series of female suicides and features in the novel "Snow" by Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk.

"The Dark Knight" movie is based on the Batman comic-book character created in 1939 by Bob Kane.

Released by Warner Bros -- a sister company to Turner Broadcasting System, which owns CNN -- during the summer, "The Dark Knight" has now taken just under $1 billion worldwide, according to box-office Web site boxofficemojo.com, including $528.7 million from domestic ticket sales and $469 million from international receipts.

The film is also scheduled for re-release in January as part of an awards season push, with focus especially on supporting actor Heath Ledger, who played Joker and who died earlier this year.

Local newspaper Batman Cagdas has reported that several former residents of Batman living in Germany have had problems registering their business -- but Kalkan says he has no knowledge of the claims.

Lawyer Vehbi Kahveci, head of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Commission of the Istanbul Bar, told Hurriyet Daily News.com that the "Batman" name was registered worldwide.

He added that the town had missed the timeframe during which it could complain about any infringement of its name.

Warner Bros said that it was only aware of the action through the media and had yet to be presented with any legal papers.

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