The Timeless Adventures of the Eternal Warrior, by Paul Grist, is being solicited this month in Previews. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, since Valiant Entertainment seems to have this trademark registered.
The solicitation of the book is as follows:
THE TIMELESS ADVENTURES OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR (ONE-SHOT)
story PAUL GRIST
art & cover PAUL GRIST
32 PAGES / FC
The Eternal Warrior. He’s the Cosmic Champion, a wanderer through time, forever caught in the battle between order and chaos
There’s a woman called Bernadette who wants to be the Empress of the Universe, and she’s just found the one thing that could help her achieve that. The only man who can stop her is the Eternal Warrior. And he’s just arrived 10 minutes too late!
So what is the issue here?
It comes down to the difference between copyrights and trademarks.
Copyrights protect the content of a published work. For instance, the copyright for Eternal Warrior would refer to a character named Gilad that is ten thousand years old, wears a jacket with strange containers down one side, has a glove with spikes on it, and has long flowing hair like Fabio.
Trademarks protect titles of products. In this case, the title Eternal Warrior is registered by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to Valiant Entertainment. An online record of this registration is located here.
In particular, the use of the words Eternal Warrior as the title of a product is registered to Valiant Entertainment, Inc, and includes:
Printed matter, namely, comic books; graphic novels; books featuring stories in illustrated form; books relating to comic book characters; periodicals, namely, magazines featuring illustrated stories for children and adults; comic strips; posters; art prints; lithographic prints; seriographic prints; limited edition prints; collector’s cards featuring comic book characters; trading cards; trading card albums
As far as I understand Trademark laws, the contents of this comic solicited by Image are fine. Even the description of the character within the book as the Eternal Warrior is probably fine. The use of the words Eternal Warrior in the title of this book seems to be a violation of VEI’s registered trademark.
These trademark laws help to protect both consumer and producer. If VEI does eventually print a new Eternal Warrior comic book, it is in the companies interest and in our interest as consumers to only have one product in comic book stores called Eternal Warrior.
If I were to recommend to a friend that he go to the comic shop and buy the latest issue of Eternal Warrior, there should not be any confusion about which comic book I am referring to. With two different books, with entirely different content in the marketplace, the consumer could reasonably be confused.
It will be interesting to see what happens, and if this comic book does come out with the title that it is solicited with. I will be ordering a copy, at the very least for posterity, to see how this plays out.