Comic-Con Injunction

The future of any Comic-Con other than San Diego Comic-Con and its official equivalents is now in serious doubt thanks to an injunction. A judge has ruled against Salt Lake Comic-Con from using titles “Comic Con” and “Comic-Con”, as well as any phonetic equivalents (like ComiKon). In short, if you have a local Comic-Con near you, it’s probably going to be changing its name very quickly.

The name Comic-Con has evolved to the point where seemingly any local comic-driven convention can make use of the term. At least, that’s what many local cons thought. But that reasoning won’t hold up in a court of law – not anymore. The Hollywood Reporter reveals a judge in California has ruled in favor of plaintiff San Diego Comic Convention and against the Salt Lake Comic Con for trademark infringement.

This matter actually went to trial last winter, but since then, Salt Lake had asked for the ruling to put aside in favor of a new trial. Unfortunately for Salt Lake, the judge in the case declined, instead upholding the verdict and ordering the defendants to pay $4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs. Since this entire situation began, Salt Lake has rebranded itself the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (catchy name).

What does all this mean? It means that any con that isn’t the San Diego Comic-Con is in danger of entering into a world of legal trouble. You can expect local conventions to rebrand themselves very quickly, or risk litigation. The term “comic convention” is fine, but Comic Con” and “Comic-Con”, as well as any phonetic equivalents – i.e. ComiKon – are prohibited. The judge also ruled that Salt Lake couldn’t “advertise how the festival they run was ‘formerly known as Salt Lake Comic Con.'”, something they’re currently doing, according to Google at least:

Salt Lake

This is likely just the beginning. As THR adds, “San Diego has sued or asserted claims against others who operated “Comic-Cons” around the nation — and most of those cases were put on hold for this one. San Diego vs. Salt Lake was a test case.” With the test case resulting in a win for San Diego, there’s no reason to assume they’d stop now.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the most important – or exciting – news. But it’s another stark reminder that taking on a major money-making juggernaut like Comic-Con is dangerous, and potentially costly. The FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention kicks-off September 6, 2018. Feel free to stop by and tell them you’re sorry about the $4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.

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