Tag Archives: trademark

Dynamite is Disputing the Atlas Comics Purchase, Sort Of

Dynamite Entertainment Atlas Comics

We’ve been researching this one since the announcement was made. but Dynamite Entertainment is disputing the relaunch of Atlas Comics. Well, at least the use of the name “Atlas Comics.”

Last week, Steven Paul revealed he had purchased a majority stake in Atlas Comics, the 1970s comic publisher, with plans to launch movie franchises. In our research for that announcement, we noticed there was a dispute over the trademark of Atlas Comics. Dynamite Entertainment claims that it owns the trademark.

Atlas Comics launched in 1974 as an imprint of Seaboard Publishing. Martin Goodman founded it after a dispute with Marvel Comics, which he founded. Jason Goodman, Martin Goodman’s grandson, is in control of Atlas Comics and its character through Nemesis Group. Paul purchased a stake to the character library from Nemesis Group.

Dynamite Entertainment is claiming they own the name “Atlas Comics” but do not own the characters.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Dynamite said:

We have no clue why Martin Goodman, or anyone associated with him, feels that they can use the ‘Atlas Comics’ brand name. Any trademark rights the original Goodman’s Seaboard Publishing group may have owned in the ‘Atlas Comics’ name was abandoned decades ago. Because of that abandonment, the trademark ATLAS COMICS was adopted in 2002 by Jeffrey Stevens, who then registered the trademark in 2005, and Dynamite now owns all rights in the ATLAS COMICS trademark, having purchased it from Mr. Stevens in 2014. We have been actively using the mark ever since.

Jason Goodman attempted to relaunch Atlas Comics in 2010. He found out that Jeffrey Stevens had registered the trademark for comic books in 2005. That led to a lawsuit being filed by Nemesis against Stevens. Their argument was that Stevens hadn’t used the trademark. In March 2012 the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board allowed the case to proceed. In the end, the board ruled against Goodman in August 2014. Stevens’ trademark was then assigned to Dynamite Characters LLC, aka Dynamite Entertainment. In February 2016 Nemesis Group filed a new Atlas Comics logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Dynamite claims they have used the “Atlas Comics” branding. They use it to denote “limited-edition signed copies of high-profile titles.” Those copies feature a visible cover banner. You can see examples of that above.

It is possible that the Atlas Comics announcement was just about the characters and intellectual property. Atlas Comics as a publisher is dead and the name was just used for the announcement with no intention on further use. That still remains unclear and this is a story we’ll continue to follow.

Around the Tubes

We’re getting settled after a weekend at Boston Comic Con and Gen Con. While we go over all the awesome that was the two conventions (as well as SDCC and Otakon), here’s some news to keep you busy this morning.

Around the Tubes

Boston.com – Mayor Walsh declares August 1 Stan Lee Day – Pretty awesome!

TechDirt – And Now Here Comes Every Other Comic Convention With Trademark Apps For The Generic ‘Comic Con’ – Not shocking at all.

Kotaku – Batman: Arkham Knight Dropped the Ball On One Major Character: Batman – Still not sure if I should play this.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Nothing But Comics – Zodiac Starforce #1

DC vs. Superwog

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SuperwogDC is going up against Australian YouTube comic phenomenon SuperwogTheodore Saidden applied for a trademark registration for the characters shield like logo.  Legal firm Baker & McKenzie and has filed its opposition to the registration application with IP Australia on DC’s behalf.

Saidden said he was sent letters months ago ordering him to close his website and stop producing stickers and t-shirts involved with his character.  Saidden said that the issue is the logo is a bit too similar to Superman for DC’s liking.

Their lawyers have come back to us saying I can keep using the name Superwog but not register it as a trademark. But this is just ridiculous; they are not the same.  I was just trying to do things properly and you get punished.

Slave Labor Legal Defense Fund

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Over at the Slave Labor website, the company publisher Dan Vado writes that the company is “embroiled in a trademark issue revolving around our comic book about a certain gun heiress.”  They’ve decided to fight the issue and are asking for donations through Paypal for their legal fund.

From their website:

So far just responding to the letters we have gotten has cost us well into five figures, more than we could possibly ever hope to recover publishing comics for the next two years. We have tried raising money by having sales, doing clearances and the like but given the times we live in and perhaps the lack of urgency about them,  those things have not really done much to help us out.
So, as much as it kills me to resort to this, I am asking all of our loyal fans to help us out by donating whatever they feel comfortable sending. Just so we are being clear, SLG is not raising money to fight some long, drawn-out court case, there isn’t enough money in all of comics for that kind of fight, we are asking for money to pay for the costs of responding to the letters and harassment from the baseless claims thrown at us. This is money we have already spent, a lot of it borrowed, for which there will be no return and is now affecting our ability to operate.
We have exhausted every avenue searching for free legal help but as our situation is not a clear First Amendment one and because we somehow manage to stay in business year after year, we are being told we do not qualify for free legal help by everyone we have asked.
The plea admits the begging isn’t the most desired solution to raise the money, but it’s an avenue and means to an end.  So, if you’re inclined, head to Paypal and help a brother out.

Nemesis Is It’s Own Nemesis

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This week has brought all kinds of news about legal issues regarding Mark Millar’s upcoming Marvel/Icon series, Nemesis.  Well, we can add another wrinkle to the tale concerning issues of the comic books title.

Bleeding Cool is reporting that due to DC’s upcoming series in March, Nemesis: The Imposters and Marvel’s own video game Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (which interestingly enough Mark Millar worked on), something needed to be done with the name of Millar’s series.

The series will now be called Millar And McNiven’s Nemesis. Now the question is how much more legal news will spin out of this one series?

Popeye the Sailor Man for All

This January the the drawings of Elzie Segar of his famous character Popeye have entered public domain in Europe.  Segar died in 1938 and protection rights to authors  ends after 70 years from death in the European Union.  Similar laws in the United States protects for 95 years after the initial copyright.

This expiration means anyone can print and sell posters, t-shirts, or create comic strips from Segar’s drawings.  Acording to an intellectual property specialist the Segar drawings are now free for anybody to create a thriving business.  But, if you sold a Popeye toy or other product you could be infringing on a trademark.

The Popeye trademark, a seperate entity to Segar’s authorial copyright is held by King Features which is expected to protect the brand.