Settlement in Red Sonya v. Red Sonja Lawsuit

A lawsuit between Red Sonja LLC and Paradox Entertainment over the rights to Big Red was just settled:

Red Sonja firms trade swords for $1 plowshares

By Sean O’Sullivan, The News Journal
Wilmington, Delaware / January 29, 2008

The owners of Red Sonja, a comic book character, sued Paradox for trademark infringement. The two sides settled today.

And like that, the battle was over.

The second day of testimony in the federal trademark dispute over the comic book warrior-heroine character Red Sonja ended early today with both sides announcing a settlement.

Red Sonja LLC had accused Paradox Entertainment Inc. of infringing on its trademarked character Red Sonja — the statuesque red-headed “She-Devil with a Sword” featured in hundreds of comic books and a 1985 movie — when it announced in February 2006 that it acquired the rights to a character called Red Sonya, spelled with a ‘y’.

The little-known Red Sonya was featured in a single short story in the 1930s by the late fantasy author Robert E. Howard. In the 1970s, comic book editors looking for a female counterpart to Howard’s Conan the Barbarian character crafted Red Sonja, using the short story for inspiration and changing the spelling of her name and transporting her back in time to be a contemporary for Conan.

Paradox owns the rights to Conan and other works by Howard.

According to the agreement, Red Sonja LLC now owns the rights to the red-headed female spelled with either a ‘y’ or a ‘j.’

Paradox, meanwhile, maintains rights to the short story featuring Red Sonya, and can continue to claim that it owns the entire Robert E. Howard library.

As part of the deal, Red Sonja LLC paid Paradox $1 for all rights to the Red Sonya character. In return Paradox agreed to pay Red Sonja LLC $1 for the exclusive print publication rights to the single short story that features Red Sonya, entitled, “The Shadow of the Vulture.”

The agreement was announced in open court by Red Sonja LLC attorney Thomas J. Curran at 1:30 p.m. Both companies are Delaware business entities.

Also, the agreement makes clear that Paradox owns the rights to the “Age of Hyboria,” the name for Conan’s time period, but Red Sonja LLC is allowed to place its character in Hyboria, where she was created to exist in the first place.

“We’re very happy this is now resolved and we can both go forward with our respective businesses,” said Paradox Entertainment President Fredrik Malmberg outside court.

Red Sonja LLC President Arthur Lieberman thanked District Judge Sue L. Robinson and said he was “more than pleased” with the outcome.