Hobby Star Marketing, a company which holds pop culture conventions for comic books, science fiction and other pop culture phenomena has sued the UFC over it's use of the Fan Expo name this weekend in Toronto. One of Hobby Star's largest events is FanExpo Canada and they have filed an injunction at the last minute against the UFC. From Comic Book Resources:
In the federal court statement obtained by CBR News, Hobby Star has filed for trade-mark infringement on the name "Fan Expo" as well as the slogan "The Ultimate Fan Experience" and the web domain www.ufcfanexpo.com. The papers were filed in a Toronto federal court and make no mention of previous UFC events labeled as "Fan Expos" such as a London, England event last summer, nor do they mention anything about the company's potential plans for a Fan Expo in Las Vegas this summer. This is likely because Hobby Star only have the "Fan Expo" trademark registered within Canada.
Zuffa, as legal owners of all names and trade-marks associated with the UFC, are listed as the primary defendant while Reed takes a secondary role in the brief as the organizer of the event, which is set to kick off this Friday at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.
The document reveals that Hobby Star seeks an injunction against promoting or selling anything involving the mark and slogan as well as an order to "deliver up or destroy upon oath all clothing, goods labels, packages, advertising materials, signage, printed matter, including all plats, moulds, matrices, and other material for producing or printing such items and any other matter or materials in print or electric form" that fall under the offending names. Additionally, in its case Hobby Star cites the fact that a Reed employee named John McGeary was formerly associated with Fan Expo Canada in some capacity and therefore had knowledge of the trade-mark's use in Canada.
While the last minute nature of this move may surprise some, it's one of the best methods to undercut your competitor and take away the necessary time to find a legal way around the problem. There have been a slew of recent actions taken in battles between various convention organizers so this is hardly a surprise in any way other than that there is not a direct relationship between the UFC and the Hobby Star bread and butter of sci-fi, comic and hobby conventions.
We'll have more information on this situation as it develops.
Update: To be clear since I left it out initially. The UFC was sued as well as Reed Exhibitions (the convention organizer). This is likely as much about hitting Reed (who promotes gaming expos and the like) as it is about going after the UFC.