Well I was asked the above question and to be honest even the answers you can find online can get confusing. In 2015, Jason Goodman (whose Nemesis Group joined forces with Arrden to produce the 2010 Atlas revival) told me that there was still the "possibility" that Atlas could be back.
But there were rumours. Firstly, that Disney, owners of Marvel Comics which was formerly Atlas Comics after having been Timely Comics, had taken legal action for using the Atlas title. As I pointed out on several comic sites, that made no sense. Disney bosses were ignorant of Marvel having been Timely so they probably had no idea it was also once Atlas. Then it was suggested that the fuss was over the Marvel comic Agents of Atlas.
I searched around but there seemed to be no problems coming from Disney.
Secondly, there was the rumour that a group of creators from the 1970s Atlas Comics were suing over use of their creations. I asked around again. No. No truth to that rumour.
So, was it likely that Atlas Comics and the series Atlas Unified were cancelled because someone else owned the "Atlas Comics" name? It seemed ridiculous but it turned out that, indeed, someone had grabbed the name and ....well, this Wikipedia entry will explain:
"Circa 2010, Martin Goodman's grandson Jason Goodman announced a partnership with Ardden Entertainment to relaunch Atlas Comics starting with two "#0" issues featuring the Grim Ghost and Phoenix. With another character, Wulf the Barbarian, they were the stars of a miniseries, Atlas Unified, announced in September 2011 for publication that November.
"Jason Goodman's Nemesis Group Inc. belatedly discovered that one Jeffrey Stevens had acquired the trademark "Atlas Comics" for comic books on October 11, 2005. Nemesis filed suit on September 28, 2010, arguing that Stevens had no demonstrated use of the trademark, and on March 13, 2012, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board allowed the case to proceed to trial. The Board ultimately ruled against Goodman, and on August 10, 2014, Stevens assigned the trademark to Dynamite Characters LLC."
So when Goodman told me that it was possible that Atlas Comics would be back he was, probably, being, shall we say, a little "optimistic"?
But in December, 2015, someone (no, no names) told me that Goodman was getting Atlas Comics back as a name. I pointed out that unless he paid Jeffery Stevens a lot of money for the name legally assigned to him he just couldn't. I was then sent (see why I won't name the person?) a scan of a logo but asked not to say anything until it all went "legal".
Now, Bleeding Cool Comics, in February, ran this story -see the whole item here:
"Is Martin Goodman’s Grandson Trying To Get The Name Of Atlas Comics Back?"
Rich Johnson even had the logo in question and goes on to write:
"... this month (February), the Nemesis Group has filed paperwork for this logo
Video game cartridges and discs; Video game discs; Video game software; Video and computer game programs; Computer game software for use with personal computers, home video game consoles used with televisions and arcade-based video game consoles; Computer game software for use with personal computers, home video game consoles used with televisions and arcade-based video game consoles; Computer programs for video and computer games; Vinyl covers specially adapted for cell phones, MP3 players, laptops, computers, portable satellite radios, personal digital assistants, remote controls, and television satellite recorders. Comic books; Comics; Graphic novels; Graphic art prints; Graphic art reproductions; Graphic prints; Framed graphic art reproductions. Graphic T-shirts; Graphic T-shirts; Halloween costumes. Appliques. Costume masks; Video game machines; Arcade video game machines; Arcade-type electronic video games; Coin-operated video games. On-line retail store services featuring physical and virtual merchandise for use by members of an online community in connection with a designated website featuring fictional characters; Subscriptions to books, reviews, newspapers or comic books. Imprinting messages on wearing apparel and mugs. Creating and developing concepts for television programs; Entertainment services in the nature of creation, development, and production of television programming; Providing online non-downloadable comic books and graphic novels; Providing online non-downloadable comic books and graphic novels; Providing online non-downloadable comic books and graphic novels; Screenplay writing..."
The difference is Atlas TM Comics. Yeah, I know. But that "TM" can make all the difference. But it's typical comic industry shenanigans that someone would sneak in and register the Atlas Comics name without contacting the Goodman estate and then not use it. From what I understand, the intention might have been to use the Atlas characters under the Dynamite-Atlas Comics banner but if the rumour mill is correct that would have resulted in creators being very unhappy and legal action.
So, if Stevens plans were scuppered back in 2005 you might ask why when Goodman and Arrden did all the Atlas Comics relaunch press and news releases as well as interviews, did Stevens not clear his throat and say "Sorry -you can't. The Atlas Comics name is mine now"?
Sounds a dirty trick, right? But nothing in comics surprises me. What the motivation was or just what was going on behind the scenes we do not know. There's a suggestion that Stevens wanted to sell the name back to Goodman but Goodman said "**** you!" and the legal case opened. There are a LOT of rumours.
Goodman may well be able to adopt the Atlas TM Comics and that means Atlas could be back. If it does happen I can only hope that better writers and artists are used and -please- get some of the original creators and their creations involved not a reboot that fans did not like.