California Intellectual Property Blog


San Diego and Salt Lake Battle for Comic Con Trademark

Comic ConSan Diego – San Diego is home to the well-known annual Comic-Con convention which generally celebrates all things science fiction. Every year, hundreds of thousands of fans and actors flock to San Diego to enjoy sneak peaks of upcoming movies, panels, and costume contests.

However, San Diego Comic-Con now has trademark challengers including Salt Lake Comic Con. San Diego Comic Convention sued Dan Farr Productions last year in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Southern California. Dan Farr Productions is the owner of Salt Lake Comic Con. San Diego Comic Convention claims that the two names are confusingly similar, and as a result people may mistake the two for being related events, which is not the case.

Along with Salt Lake Comic Con, San Diego Comic Convention also sued Newspaper Agency Corp. Newspaper Agency is responsible for organizing and marketing the Salt Lake Comic Con. However, it managed to reach a settlement with San Diego Comic Convention. As a result of the settlement, Newspaper Agency was allegedly not allowed to write or produce anything that was “confusingly similar” to the San Diego Comic-Con should San Diego win the case.

After failed negotiations between the two Comic Con hosts, San Diego and Salt Lake are apparently set to go to trial over the alleged trademark infringement.

The USPTO awarded Salt Lake Comic Con as a Trademark two weeks ago. Its legal team successfully argued that “Comic Con” was a generic term and thus should not be owned exclusively by the San Diego Comic Convention. One small difference pointed out by the Salt Lake Comic Con is that its trademark does not hyphenate the word Comic Con whereas the San Diego convention does. Trademark attorneys for the Salt Lake Comic Con believe that this recent award will be key for Salt Lake to win the case.

San Diego disagrees and is continuing to fight for protection for its own Comic-Con. It also suggested that Salt Lake adopt a different name, such as FanX, which is a related event.

Salt Lake responded to the name suggestion by bringing in other events from across the world. Many other cities such as New York, Boston, Phoenix, and those in other countries use the “Comic Con” name. It may be that San Diego Comic Convention did not police use of its trademark sufficiently to keep exclusive ownership to the Comic-Con moniker.

Salt Lake’s Comic Con is scheduled for late September, and as of right now it looks as though it will continue with its original name.


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