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San Diego Comic-Con still will fight Salt Lake over name

First Published      Last Updated Jul 25 2015 09:39 pm


Courts » Utah event’s trademark approval doesn’t affect lawsuit, plaintiff says.

San Diego Comic-Con doesn't want Salt Lake Comic Con celebrating a win in its trademark dispute just yet.

San Diego is suing Salt Lake for trademark infringement, claiming the latter's name is too similar and has confused people into thinking the two pop culture conventions are related. On Thursday, Salt Lake Comic Con's co-founder Bryan Brandenburg announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had granted the application to trademark "Salt Lake Comic Con," which he was confident would "virtually eliminate this ongoing legal battle."

But San Diego organizers disagree, and still plan to take Salt Lake to federal court to decide the matter.



"Contrary to Dan Farr Production's statement, the Supplemental Registration will have no effect on the on-going infringement litigation in San Diego," the California event's attorney Peter Hahn said in a statement. "San Diego Comic Convention will continue to protect its incontestable rights in the Comic-Con mark until Dan Farr Productions discontinues infringement of the Comic-Con mark — even if that means having the Court force Dan Farr Productions to comply with the law."

San Diego Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer added that they were "less surprised by the registration than we were of the organizers' take on it." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has no process for another company to oppose a registration, he said in a statement.

A trial date has not yet been set. Attorneys for the conventions are scheduled to meet again for a conference on Aug. 14.

San Diego technically has the hyphenated version of "Comic-Con" trademarked, not "comic con." But its legal team argued that the similarity of "Comic Con" in another event's name, without the hyphen, has confused people into thinking Salt Lake Comic Con is somehow associated with San Diego's convention.

After San Diego sued Salt Lake in U.S. District Court of Southern California, the two tried to negotiate a settlement for months. But in early July, those talks failed.

San Diego has suggested that Salt Lake Comic Con adopt the name of its sister event, FanX.

But as Salt Lake's co-founders see it, the legal battle isn't just between them and San Diego; it's a threat to the dozens of other comic book conventions around the world that also use the "comic con" name. Brandenburg previously asserted that if San Diego wins this case, it has a precedent to do this to others.

Salt Lake co-founder Dan Farr pointed out Thursday that other conventions don't have a second, strong brand name — like their FanX — to fall back on in lieu of using "comic con."

In the meantime, Salt Lake plans to go ahead with the original name for its 2015 event, scheduled for Sept. 24-26 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @MikeyPanda

 

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