San Diego Comic-Con Sues Salt Lake Comic Con for Trademark Infringement
San Diego Comic Convention has filed a lawsuit against Dan Farr Productions, LLC, Newspaper Agency Company, LLC, Daniel Farr and Bryan Brandenburg in the United States District Court, Southern District of California. The complaint is for federal trademark infringement and false designation of origin. Based on conversations with San Diego Comic-Con International the lawsuit was expected. Salt Lake Comic Con organizers are confident in their case and this legal action will not affect the comic con taking place September 4-6.
Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 is September 4-6, 2014 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Show organizers want to assure fans, partners, sponsors and the public that the show will go on. In fact, Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 will feature more than 200 celebrity guests and comic artists. The latest celebrity guest list can be found here and includes Hulk Hogan, Patrick Warburton and over 40 other celebrities, some still to be announced between now and the convention.
As an introduction to the lawsuit on their website, Salt Lake Comic Con states:
Currently Salt Lake Comic Con has only received a letter from San Diego Comic-Con to cease and desist. No lawsuits or court orders have been filed at this time. We hope to resolve this amicably with CCI but we also feel confident to defend ourselves in case San Diego does decide to pursue this through the legal system.
Our position is that the phrases "comic con" "comicon" and even "comic-con" are generic and are abbreviations for the term "comic convention". This has been a common expression since 1964, 6 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. The 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.
Whether San Diego Comic-Con International actually intends to pursue this in court or not, this will not effect the 2nd Annual Salt Lake Comic Con taking place on September 4-6, 2014. We have been assured that we have the right to the name "Salt Lake Comic Con" and we have filed for a trademark. If San Diego Comic-Con International does intend to pursue this through the legal system, we have the financial resources and legal position to successfully defend ourselves. Our hope is to resolve this amicably with CCI but under no circumstances are we prepared to meet the demands they have made.