Zeus Comics Vs Zeus Comics

zeusWe’ve covered the attempt by Mort Todd to set up a fictitious comic book publisher called Zeus Comics going back to the fifties, as part of a new comic project.

Mort Todd writes;

Heard from a Dallas TX retail store today called Zeus Comics who tried to intimidate us into changing the name of our fictional comic book publishing company that is part of a book project I have up on Kickstarter. Before I started this project, I did due diligence, doing a trademark search for Zeus Comics. There certainly was no publisher that secured the ™, or any retail store, in fact there is no trademark secured for Zeus Comics in any discipline. Even if they had trademarked the name as a store, it would not cover the ™ for publishing, apparel, candy or anything else unless they specifically secured it. There are tons of legal precedents of different companies with the same name that provide different, uncompetitive services.

Just to be safe I added a disclaimer to the web pages that says: ZEUS COMICS IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY EXISTING RETAIL STORES BY THAT NAME OR ANY EXISTING DEITY.

I would like to hear others’ opinions on this!

zeusThe store would be Zeus Comics And Collectibles, and while their site claims a trademark for their name, I cannot find any such filing. However US law states that “Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark.  Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow the common law user to successfully challenge a registration or application” and the comics store has been around for over a decade.  They do appear to be trading in different markets, so both could register the trademark in their respective fields without conflict. But that’s not happening.

971107_469972473082259_2098075092_nMort added;

Got a Cease & Desist letter today. If we don’t change the name of our fictional institution, “all available legal remedies” will be pursued against our non-existant publishing company from the 1950s.

The comic store was already posting to Twitter, with owner/manager Richard Neal writing;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That stuff at the bottom of the publisher page?

ZEUS COMICS, all titles, characters, images and related devices © and ™ ZEUS COMICS. Mort Todd, Exclusive Licensing Agent zeus@getvex.com

And I guess they have now added;

Zeus Comics is not affiliated with any existing retail stores by that name or any exiting deity.

And here’s the thing. If Mort Todd is producing Zeus Comics shirts and so are the store, there may well be conflict. And given history, Mort would likely lose. But for Richard Neal to claim the trademark on publishing comics under that name because that’s something he was considering doing, is much less likely to stand up.

As Richard says, there is an agreement between Titan Comics, the store and the publisher. Comic Relief, the store and the broadcasting charity (who have published comics) get along. This probably needs to be one of those occasions. But right now neither party seems willing to go that way.

Anyone fancy being a mediator?