CON WARS! Hobby Star Sues Wizard over "Toronto Comicon"

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201204180255 CON WARS! Hobby Star Sues Wizard over "Toronto Comicon"
Oh man! We thought the epic Con Wars of the Aughts were settled? But it seems Canada’s Hobby Star is not happy with how Wizard has used the phrase Toronto Comicon. Hobby Star throws the huge Fan Expo in Toronto every year, and, as CBR reports, had been engaged in a feud with the former Paradise Comic-Con…which was eventually acquired by Wizard and morphed into the Toronto Comicon…while things had been peaceful for many a moon, the fight is on again!

In court filings obtained by CBR News, Hobby Star claims Wizard World and its newly installed CEO John Macaluso are improperly using the name, as Hobby Star claims rights to the term “Toronto Comicon.” That slight change in spelling may become very important in the future, though for now they’ve accused Wizard of “passing off their services or business as or for those of the plaintiff” and “directing public attention to their services or business in such a way as to cause or be likely to cause confusion in Canada between their services or business and those of the plaintiff” among other claims. Additionally, the suit claims that representatives of Wizard defamed Hobby Star by claiming to vendors that the company has threatened exhibitors with reprisals for trying to buy space at both shows.


Hobby Star uses the name “Toronto Comicon” for some of its smaller shows throughout the year. The Wizard-run show—which was held just this weekend past—is called “Wizard World Toronto Comic Con.” Oh, what a difference a hyphen and a space make.

Hobby Star is asking for $500,000 in damages.

We’ve spoken to the newish folks running Wizard several times in the past few months, and they say they aren’t interested in any of the competitive practices that marked previous regimes. However, Hobby Star is known to be pretty aggressive in protecting their turf.

Will the Con Wars ever end?

Comments

  1. What’s funny, well not really, is that a number of vendors have told me they don’t book the Wizard show because they fear reprisals from Hobbystar.

    Does anyone honestly believe that the paucity of vendors at Wizard has nothing to do with the fact that they are all terrified of pissing off Hobbystar?

  2. Marco Polo says:

    Don’t innovate, litigate

  3. Torsten Adair says:

    “Comic-Con” is claimed by CCI.

    “Comic Con” is a generic term, used by everyone else.

    Hobbystar has a strong case, if they have used the trademark frequently or recently.

  4. Mr. Heal says:

    Never did like Hobby Star, they really couldn’t care less about the fans or even the things the fans like. I’ve been to Fan Expo and I went to Toronto ComiCon this year.

    This years Toronto Comicon was a mess, I pre purchased my tickets to bypass the line, but they were so unorginaized people who where buying tickets got in faster. It wasn’t until we stood in line for an hour (or so) that they figured out a faster way to take the tickets. To be fair, other then that it wasn’t that bad of an event. Not to mention it was 20 dollars cheaper then Fan Expo…

  5. Never impressed with Hobby Star/Fan Expo & their tactics. I understand comic cons make money, but HobbyStar treats fans like trash; selling tickets then refusing to let people in for up to 2 hours, changing schedule without notice, advertising certain guest that cancel everytime that they are suppose to appear. Wizard Con is more accommodating to the guest they bring, the fans & vendors. And I’ve heard from several artists & vendors that if you do Wizard Con you won’t be doing theirs. Plus, in 2010, 2011 & 2012 “Toronto Comic Con” has gotten out of hand, long lines, major hassles, poorly organized.

  6. This explains it. I’ve wondered what happened to Wizard World Toronto this year. I first went to Wizard World in 2011 and it was easily my best convention experience ever. It gave me hope that competition might force HobbyStar to improve their ways – but now that they’ve killed the competition, they will probably just return to their old ways again.

    I will certainly miss Wizard World Toronto. The treatment was entirely different from HobbyStar’s Toronto Comicon or FanExpo. For once, I was treated with respect and courtesy at a convention. The staff even went the extra mile to ask me on numerous occasions if I was having a good time – even if it was just a facade they were putting on, it’s still better than explicitly treating attendees like trash. Such a simple action added to making my whole convention experience that much better. I have been attending HobbyStar events for around 10 years now and I have never got any respectable treatment from them even ONCE!

    As if that isn’t enough, when they released this year’s new ludicrous ticket prices last night, I posted my opinions about it and what I think they’ve become and guess what? I woke up this morning to see that they not only deleted my post but also proceeded to BLOCK me from their Facebook as well! Unbelievable, talk about totalitarianism! I’m sure they didn’t want me tainting their Facebook page with their faults because they are true! Their actions just show that they do not care since deleting and/or blocking complaints is a fail in Customer Service 101.

    I’ve been a loyal customer attending their events every single year for about a decade now and this is how they treat me! That’s some real great customer relations they got there…

    More people need to stand up to them because one or a few complaints is obviously not enough – for every 1 fan they lose, they probably get 10+ more unknowing new attendees. We need to get #FanExploit or something trending because enough is enough. How much longer are fans going to keep letting them gouge???

    – Majority of autograph prices used to be $20 when I first attended these events in the early 2000s. Majority of autograph prices are now $40 and approaching $50!

    – The 8×10 photos at celebrity tables are now $5 extra charge and are no longer included in the autograph price.

    – Not allowed to take photos with celebrity guests at the table for free anymore. You have to purchase a photo-op for $40 or more if you want a photo with them.

    …what’s next? Charging attendees to breath inside???

    The worst thing about all this is that they always manage to kill off any new competitors that comes to town. There’s no other big show to flock to. It’s no wonder they can charge whatever they want: because they can!

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