Salt Lake Comic Con going to trial over its name

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Salt Lake Comic Con is not backing down over its name and now they're going to trial over it. Last year San Diego Comic-Con filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con accusing the growing convention of infringing on its trademarks and advertising in their district. Thursday in a San Diego court house both sides failed to reach a settlement so the judge ruled the case will go to trial.

San Diego Comic-Con claims the name "comic con" belongs to them. In the lawsuit San Diego Comic-Con organizers claimed Salt Lake Comic Con "...Engaged in continuous acts of trademark infringement and unfair competition... And have caused injury to SDCC..."
San Diego Comic-Con organizers claim when Salt Lake Comic Con uses the name, it's either identical or confusingly similar to San Diego and because of that, it's hurting the San Diego Comic-Con brand. But Salt Lake organizers say the name "comic con" is too generic to belong to San Diego.

Salt Lake Comic Con Co-Founder Bryan Brandenburg told ABC 4 News, "It was recently validated by the U.S Trademark Office when we applied for a trademark of Salt Lake Comic Con, they came back and said both Salt Lake and Comic Con are too generic so you can't trademark it."

In fact, Salt Lake organizers say the only reason San Diego is singling them out is because of how quickly they've grown. "Our belief is that comic conventions have been around well before San Diego came on the scene and they've been around for decades, and they're singling us out because of our incredible success," said Brandenburg.

The fight may be over more than just a name; San Diego organizers also got upset when Salt Lake organizers drove an Audi that was spec'd out with Salt Lake Comic Con logos down to the San Diego Convention. Brandenburg says they didn't drive the car down to San Diego to act as a billboard, but to use it as a backdrop when they were interviewing celebrities to announce they're coming to Salt Lake.

Then there was the competing schedules. Brandenburg said, "Maybe a trigger for them was the fact that we had our convention, our FanX right during the middle of one of their conventions, WonderCon."

San Diego Comic-Con attorneys are asking for unspecified money damages and for Salt Lake Comic Con to change it's name, but Salt Lake refuses and they say they have a lot of support going into this fight.

"We've been in communication and there's a tremendous amount of support for other conventions around the country, very large ones in fact, that we feel like we're in a good position to move forward across all fronts," said Brandenburg.

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