The lawsuit, filed August 7th against Dan Farr Productions—the company that produces Salt Lake Comic Con—alleges federal trademark infringement. It states Comic-Con International holds the trademark on the term "Comic-Con" and accuses the Utah convention of attempting to "capitalize on SDCC's creativity, ingenuity, and hard work through the unauthorized use of SDCC's trademarks to advertise and promote Defendants' own popular arts convention titled 'Salt Lake Comic Con.'"
The organizers of the Salt Lake Comic Con are confident they will win the case which are detailed in a dedicated section on their official website.
Our position is that the phrases"comic con," "comicon," and even "comic-con" are generic and are abbreviation for the term "comic convention." This has been a common expression since 1964, six years before San Diego Comic-Con even existed. When used with another set of words such as "Salt Lake," "Big Apple," "Chicago" or "New York," they become a name that has protection and exclusivity.
There are over a hundred "comic con" companies that freely use a variation of "comic con" in their name and have done so long before San Diego Comic-Con International was granted a trademark for "Comic-Con" in 2005. They validity of this trademark has been questioned by lawyers and was never intended to be a far-reaching, exclusive trademark for any related "comic con" name.
Last month, Salt Lake Comic Con was served a cease and desist that demanded they stop using the words "Comic Con," which SDCC claimed was used in an attempt to "suggest, mislead, and confuse consumers into believing that the Salt Lake Comic Con convention is associated with, authorized by, endorsed by, or sponsored by SDCC," stated in the suit.
Comic Con International certainly isn't the only convention to use the term "comic con"—New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, Baltimore Comic Con, Denver Comic Con, and Motor City Comic Con (to name only a few) all share the same term—so it's interesting to see why the organizers of SDCC went after the Utah convention, whose inaugural event last fall drew over 72,000 fans according to its official website.
SDCC's attorneys are asking for an unspecified amount of monetary damages and an injunction though Salt Lake Comic Con shows no signs of slowing down. They're planning to hold their second convention Sept. 4-6 at the Salt Palace.
You can read the full lawsuit below.
San Diego Comic-Con lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con by Ben Winslow
Do you agree that "comic con" is too generic to hold any legal weight in the lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.