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Comics A.M. | Brothers charged in theft of grandparents’ comic collection

Via WEAR TV

Via WEAR TV

Crime | Two brothers in Florida have been arrested in the theft of about $30,000 worth of comic books from their grandparents. Nicholas and Robert Mason of Milton, Florida, were charged Thursday with grand theft and 16 counts of dealing in stolen property after police say they sold the comics in repeated trips to local shops, telling retailers the collection had been left to them by their late grandparents, who owned a comic store themselves. However, only part of that was true: Their grandparents did own a comic store, but they’re very much alive, and have been banking on the collection for their retirement. [WEAR TV]

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Comics A.M. | Mom fights to sell ‘Supermanny’ comic to benefit son

supermanny1

Legal | An Illinois mother says a trademark dispute is hampering her attempt to raise money for her 3-year-old son with cerebral palsy. Holly Bueno says while sitting in the hospital with her son Manny, she began writing a book called The Adventures of Supermanny. “My driving force was I wanted to give myself a voice and my son a voice, and I want there to be a story out there where the main character is in a wheelchair, there aren’t too many of those,” she says. Bueno had hoped to sell the book to raise money for a wheelchair ramp, but when she filed a trademark application last year for “Supermanny,” she drew the attention of DC Comics, which said it was too close to Superman. (U.S. Patent & Trademark Office filings show Bueno abandoned the mark in February.) Regardless of what happens with the trademark issue, there is also another fund-raiser for Manny — a superhero-themed 5k race. [ABC7 Chicago]

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Comics A.M. | Wizard World CEO resigns after $4.3 million loss

wizard world logo

Business | John Macaluso resigned last week as chief executive officer and president of Wizard World after four years in the position. His resignation, revealed Monday in filings with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, came on the same day the company reported $4.3 million in losses in 2015, due largely to a drop in per-show revenues and a money-losing investment in the startup ConTV. Board chairman John D. Maatta will succeed Macaluso as CEO and president. [Street Insider]

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Supreme Court won’t hear Batmobile copyright dispute

#1 Batmobile, Superheroes, gadgets, Cable Cutter, Bat-Ray Projec

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined to review a ruling that the Batmobile isn’t merely an automobile, but rather distinctive enough to warrant copyright protection.

Mark Towle, who previously created unlicensed replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles, petitioned the high court in January to consider his five-year-old dispute with DC Comics. The company had sued Towle in 2011, claiming his Gotham Garage violated its trademarks and copyrights by manufacturing the replicas, which he sold for about $90,000 each.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Comic Con’ trademark feud nears an end

comic con banner

Legal | It looks as if the end is in sight in the trademark dispute between Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con over the use of the term “comic con.” The organizers of Comic-Con International in San Diego claim legal ownership of the term “Comic Con” and sued the producers of the Salt Lake City even in 2014 for trademark infringement. Although settlement talks have broken down before, attorneys for both sides say they’ve resolved many of their disagreements, and have asked a federal judge to give them until March 1 to work out the finer points of a deal. [The Associated Press]

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Comics A.M. | Settlement may loom in ‘Comic Con’ dispute

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Legal | Representatives of Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con are scheduled to meet Nov. 24 with a federal judge to discuss a possible resolution of their dispute over the term “Comic Con.” Comic-Con International sued the Utah event in 2014, insisting organizers were attempting to “confuse and deceive” fans and exhibitors with their use of the term “Comic Con.” The producers of Salt Lake Comic Con have called the lawsuit “frivolous,” arguing that Comic-Con International’s trademarks are invalid. Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenberg, who met this week with Comic-Con International organizers, said he’s confident a settlement would be “greats news for our fans,” but he declined to say whether the Utah event would keep its name. [KSL.com]

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Comics A.M. | SDCC, Salt Lake in talks over trademark dispute

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Organizers of Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con are reportedly attempting to reach a settlement in their trademark dispute over the term “Comic Con.” Weeks after issuing a cease-and-desist letter in July 2014, Comic-Con International sued the Utah event, insisting organizers were attempting to “confuse and deceive” fans and exhibitors with their use of the term “Comic Con.” The producers of Salt Lake Comic Con have called the lawsuit “frivolous,” arguing that Comic-Con International’s trademarks are invalid. After being granted the trademark in July for “Salt Lake Comic Con,” organizers claimed victory in the feud, but Comic-Con International maintained nothing had been resolved. Now Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg says lawyers  updated a federal judge about that case on Tuesday, and that both sides are still working to come to an agreement. A hearing scheduled for next month. [Fox13]

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Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm & Sanrio slice into cake-frosting seller

birthday-marvel-social

Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm have joined with Sanrio to stop a company from selling unlicensed cake frosting featuring their incredibly lucrative properties.

As first reported by THR, Esq., the entertainment giants filed a trademark- and copyright-infringement lawsuit against George and Danielle Wilson, whose Wilson Cake Imaging offers printed, edible frosting sheets and cake toppers depicting a wide range of characters and performers.

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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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Comics A.M. | DC sues over Superman-inspired T-shirt design

Mad Engine's T-shirt design

Mad Engine’s T-shirt design

Legal | DC Comics has filed a trademark lawsuit against clothing manufacturer Mad Engine, claiming one of its T-shirt designs infringes on the iconic Superman shield (it replaces the signature “S” with “Dad”).  The shirt was sold through Target, which isn’t part of the suit. DC sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mad Engine on June 1, but, the publisher claims, the clothing company didn’t respond until June 19 “in an effort to allow the Infringing T-Shirt to remain available for sale through Father’s Day.” [The Hollywood Reporter]

Retailing | David Harper asked 25 comics retailers how they feel about their business (spoiler: mostly optimistic), what their customer base is like, how they determine which comics to order (some really interesting comments here), and their thoughts on the industry as a whole. With the caveat that it’s a small group, it’s fascinating stuff. [Sktchd]

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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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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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