Hobbystar is suing Wizard over Toronto Comic Con / Comicon

According to Comic Book Resources, this is now happening, and I have little to say on it except that in business, lawsuits happen all of the time when lines of perception are crossed. In the end, this will hopefully settle some long unresolved questions.

Update: Yes, since the same individual that has been stalking Hobbystar for almost a decade pointed out on twitter, I do work for Hobbystar on their conventions, organizing comic book guests. And I also used to be the co-owner of the Paradise Comicon that was sold to Wizard.

As individuals, we often wonder about the philosophical impact that legal decisions have on the marketplace. Can someone go after someone else legally for a slang name Comicon/Comic Con, etc.? Personally, I think not. When I was doing the old con I was told it couldn’t be protected except in certain rare contexts. Nevertheless, we changed the name to the Paradise Toronto Comicon to eliminate confusion from the pre-existing HSM event.

As fans, we often jump to conclusions as to what things are about. Certainly there’s a long history here in Toronto involving different participants that gets revived by fans and the comics press whenever something happens. Automatically “con war” gets thrown around by certain folks and certain comics media people. Wizard has been here for three years now, and the events have, up until now, had few issues. Although from time to time, one would hear innuendo about what one side had said or done.

What is relevant here in this lawsuit is that Hobbystar has a brand of show that has been active and visible at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre since 2001. That brand is “Toronto ComiCON”.

Wizard wanted to bring their “Toronto Comic Con” show (a brand they created in 2010 from the ashes of the Paradise Toronto Comicon – both of which were held a different and distinct facility in another part of town) to the MTCC, so they booked space at the facility during the time of year that Hobbystar has traditionally held a Toronto ComiCON at the MTCC. The shows have been co-existing for two years in different parts of town, but now, as the Toronto Star so succinctly implied Toronto ComiCON / Toronto Comic Con. Same basic name. Identical facility. Similar events. Different promoters.

So there’s a lawsuit. Let the courts figure it out.


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