Legal Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Pokemon Company drops the hammer on unsanctioned fan party

pokemon

The Pokémon Company International filed a lawsuit last week that shut down an unsanctioned Pokémon-themed party tied to PAX Prime in Seattle.

The company, which manages the multibillion-dollar Pokémon property outside Asia, on Wednesday sued the organizers of the for-profit “5th Annual Unofficial Pokemon PAX Kickoff Party,” accusing them of copyright infringement, specifically citing the use of Pikachu and Snivy in promotional images. Ramar Larkin Jones, Zach Shore and Ruckus Productions are named as defendants in the complaint.

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Disney, Marvel ‘want no part’ of Times Square fight, NYPD says

minnie-times square

Although New York City had hoped to enlist Disney and Marvel in a crackdown on troublesome costumed characters in Times Square, the police commissioner insists the entertainment giants “want no part of it.”

The New York Daily News reports that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton singled out the two companies for refusing to take action against the performers — long a thorn in the sides of local businesses and politicians — for unlicensed use of their trademarks.

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New Zealand tire shop’s superhero mascot no match for DC

super tyre guy2

A tire shop in New Zealand is changing its logo to avoid a costly legal battle with DC Comics, which insists its superhero mascot too closely resembles the Man of Steel.

The New Zealand Herald reports that Marie and Gene Young, owners of Super Tyre Guy in the small town Paeroa, received a cease-and-desist letter two weeks ago demanding they immediately stop using the costumed character.

Appearing on signage, T-shirts and a car advertising the Youngs’ business, Super Tyre Guy is dressed in a blue costume with orange (or perhaps red) cape, shorts and boots, and sports a diamond-shaped chest emblem containing the letter “G.” (For “Guy,” maybe?) It’s difficult to argue that the character doesn’t look a lot like Superman.

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Dispute over ‘Comic Con’ name is heading to court

comic-con logo2

Settlement talks have stalled between the organizers of Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con, which means the dispute over the “Comic Con” trademark may end up being resolved in federal court.

According to the Deseret News, a judge has given the two parties until the end of the month to schedule pretrial hearings. However, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg says a settlement is still possible.

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Disney and Deadmau5 settle trademark fight

deadmau5

Disney and Deadmau5 have resolved their dispute over his attempt to trademark his signature “mau5head” logo.

Although the terms of their agreement haven’t been made public, an attorney for the superstar DJ/producer (aka Joel Zimmerman) told The Hollywood Reporter, “Disney and Deadmau5 have amicably resolved their dispute.”

According to the website, details of the settlement will likely be included in paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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LEGO’s minifigs are more than building bricks, court rules

lego-minifigures

The shape of LEGO’s world-famous minifigures is protected by trademark, a European Union court ruled today, toppling a three-year challenge by one of the toymaker’s competitors.

The Danish company registered a “three-dimensional trademark” for the minfigures in 2000, after an earlier technical patent had expired. However, England’s Best-Lock, which had prevailed in an earlier patent dispute with LEGO, sought in 2012 to have that trademark revoked, arguing the shape of the toys wasn’t an artistic decision but rather determined by the need to join them “to other interlocking building blocks for play purposes.”

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Feds take first action against canceled Kickstarter project

doom-atlantic city

In its first crowdfunding case, the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against the developer of a board game who raised more than $122,000 on Kickstarter but failed to deliver a product.

Erik Chevalier of The Forking Path Co. launched a fundraising campaign in 2012 for The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, a lighthearted Lovecraftian board game created independently by industry veterans Lee Moyer and Keith Baker. With pledge incentives that included original art, pewter playing pieces and an afternoon of hosted gaming, the Kickstarter effort rocketed past its original $30,000 goal.

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‘Attack on Titan’ abruptly pulled from Shanghai film festival

attack on titan-anime movie

The Shanghai International Film Festival has abruptly canceled a screening of Attack on Titan, which was blacklisted earlier this week by the Chinese government. The move comes just days before the start of the June 13-21 event.

Based on Hajime Isayama’s bestselling post-apocalyptic fantasy series, Attack on Titan is among 38 manga and anime titles banned Monday by the Chinese Ministry of Culture from print or digital distribution for containing “severely improper content.” Other works include Death Note, Black Butler and Claymore.

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China bans ‘Attack on Titan’ and ‘Death Note’

attack on titan-v1

Attack on Titan, Death Note and Black Butler are on a list of 38 manga and anime the Chinese Ministry of Culture has designated as “severely improper content” and banned from print or digital distribution within the country.

The ministry announced Monday it has shut down eight websites and sanctioned 29 more for carrying comics and anime that either were unlicensed or featured violent content, and it’s threatening to issue warnings and fines to websites that don’t remove the blacklisted titles.

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Court rules Moulinsart doesn’t own all the Tintin rights

tintin

Surprising virtually everyone, a Dutch court has ruled that Moulinsart SA, which fiercely protects Herge’s creations, doesn’t actually own all the rights to Tintin.

Agence France-Presse reports the commercial and copyright arm of the Herge Foundation had sued a small Dutch fan club in 2012, claiming it failed to secure the rights to republish Tintin art in one of its fanzines. However, what might’ve seemed like a fairly straightforward case of copyright versus fair use was turned on its ear when the attorney for the Herge Society fan club produced a 1942 document in which the author signed over Tintin’s publishing rights to his publisher Casterman.

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Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani sentenced to 12 years

Atena Farghadani (photo from CRNI)

Atena Farghadani (photo from CRNI)

Iranian political cartoonist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “insulting the Iranian supreme leader.”

The charges stem from a cartoon Farghadani posted online that depicted members of the Iranian parliament with the heads of cows and monkeys. A painter as well as a cartoonist, Farghadani was also charged with “gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects” because she mingled with the relatives of political prisoners and members of the Baha’i faith during an exhibit of her paintings of protesters killed by the Iranian government.

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DC seeks to stop software company from trademarking ‘Gotham’

gotham city

After drawing widespread attention last week for its effort to block singer Rihanna from trademarking “Robyn,” DC Comics has turned its attention to Gotham.

In documents filed Tuesday, and first reported by Pirated Thoughts, DC has asked the United States Trademark and Patent Office to reject an attempt by software company Palantir Technologies to register “Gotham” as the name of a computer program. As the law blog notes, the product was previously referred to as “Palantir Gotham,” but for unknown reasons the company decided to drop the first half of the name, thereby attracting the watchful eyes DC’s attorneys.

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Retail giant puts walmart.horse parody site out to pasture

walmart horse

Following a two-month fight with Walmart, cartoonist Jeph Jacques has shut down his parody site walmart.horse and turned over the domain name to the retail giant.

“I didn’t feel like fighting them any more,” Jacques, creator of the webcomic Questionable Content, told The Guardian.

Launched in February, the website consisted solely of the above image, created from two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. The idea came to the cartoonist after he saw a list of new Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect specific interest. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine,” he explained in March. “We were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it.”

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DC moves to stop Rihanna from trademarking ‘Robyn’

rihanna

DC Comics is attempting to prevent the singer/actress Rihanna from registering a trademark for “Robyn,” arguing that it’s too similar to the name of Batman’s sidekick.

As first reported by Pirated Thoughts and The Outhousers, Rihanna — born Robyn Rihanna Fenty — filed the trademark application in June 2014 as part of a larger effort to build a fashion and cosmetics empire (she also filed an application for her last name). “Robyn” is intended to be used for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines,” which apparently sent up a red flag for DC’s lawyers.

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Jim Valentino files lawsuit over ‘ShadowHawk’ video game

Courtesy Retro Collect

Courtesy Retro Collect

Image Comics partner Jim Valentino has filed a copyright- and trademark-infringement lawsuit, claiming a company released a video game based on his signature creation ShadowHawk without his permission.

In a documents filed last week in Los Angeles federal court, and first reported by Courthouse News Service, Valentino accuses Rose Colored Gaming of acquiring materials produced in the early 1990s by Nintendo for a never-released ShadowHawk 16-bit game, and then selling its own “finished” version earlier this year. What’s more, the filing insists, the company used panels from one of Valentino’s comics for the packaging.

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