Zuffa sued for “UFC Fan Expo”

April 29, 2011

Toronto-based Hobby Star Marketing has filed an injunction against Zuffa, LLC, citing trademark infringement for the UFC Fan Expo mark used for this weekend’s events at the Direct Energy Center. The lawsuit also names Reed Exhibitions, the convention company running the event.

Hobby Star Marketing is an organizer of Fan Expo Canada. The expo is the largest combined gaming, horror, comic, science fiction and anime event in Canada.

Via 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.

The Morningstar News has a statement from Hobby Star Marketing:

“For the past 17 years, Fan Expo Canada has been the only event offering unique experiences and opportunities to interact with icons, industry leaders, and other enthusiastic fans across a variety of genres and modes and we intend to grow dynamically in coming years,” said Aman Gupta, President of Hobby Star Marketing. “We will do everything possible to protect our intellectual property and maintain the integrity of our event and our brand.”

Payout Perspective:

No word on the disposition of the injunction but we can assume that the UFC Fan Expo is not going to be stopped due to this lawsuit. I am not an expert on Canadian trademark law so its not clear what will become of this case. We may assume that Zuffa has filed trademarks worldwide to protect its brand. Not sure right off the bat when Zuffa filed a trademark for “UFC Expo” or “UFCFan Expo”.  As some of the comments from the CBR post indicate, Fan Expo seems quite generic but the claim seems to relate more to the logo.

The underlying fact is that Hobby Star is protecting its brand and trademark. Part of that is defending against all potential threats. Hobby Star is known as a “shrewd player when it comes to defending its brand.” According to CBR, there has been a back and forth in the world of convention organizers which may mean that Hobby Star is making a statement to other entities that it will defend itself regardless of the size of the organization.

We will see if this has any implications on whether the newly announced UFC Fan Expo in Houston will amend its name due to the lawsuit.

3 Responses to “Zuffa sued for “UFC Fan Expo””

  1. BrainSmasher on April 30th, 2011 3:11 PM

    Seems to me this could be a publicity stunt to get their name out there and leverage the huge fan and media attention the UFC is getting to get their own name out there. I doubt anything will come of this but as of now Fan Expo Canada gets their name in every piece of Canadian media in the same sentence as the letters “UFC” at a time those letters have been in the subconscious of the Canadian public. Not a bad way to promote themselves and should cost much as long as they don’t pursue it very long .

  2. Machiel Van on May 2nd, 2011 7:10 AM

    Seems pretty silly, other than the fact they both say “Fan Expo” there aren’t any other similarities. Different colors, different writing styles, etc. I thought frivolous lawsuits were more of an American pastime (lol).

  3. Dave Bogart on May 25th, 2011 1:08 PM

    What’s the point of having the legal designation of “trademark” if you are not going to bother enforcing it – by defending it – legally. I don’t think protecting your company is silly. If it was a publicity stunt they would have gone after the UFC Expo’s in other jurisdictions – Boston/London.

    If there is one thing the UFC respects is protecting your territory. They guard their trademarks fervently. Why shouldn’t everyone else?

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