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Policy: Law

San Diego Comic-Con claims Salt Lake convention is infringing on its IP by using ‘Comic Con’ term

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California,Utah,Law,Legal Newsline,San Diego

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline) – Last month, organizers of the Salt Lake Comic Con received a cease and desist order from San Diego Comic-Con — the epic annual comic convention — demanding it stop using the term “Comic Con.”

saltlakecomicconAccording to a letter sent to the Salt Lake convention, San Diego Comic-Con’s representatives ordered Dan Farr Productions — which produces the Salt Lake Comic Con events — to “immediately discontinue all use of ‘Comic Con,’ ‘Comic-Con,’ ‘Comiccon’ or any other confusingly similar variation of the Comic Con marks in connection with convention services.”

San Diego Comic-Con asserts that Salt Lake Comic Con cannot use the term for any event, logo, trademark or website moving forward.

However, hundreds of similar events across the country, and the world, use the term.

Salt Lake Comic Con organizers argue they are being singled out because of their event’s “record-setting success.”

“This cease and desist order is baseless and has been attempted before by this organization and has failed,” said Dan Farr, founder and show producer. “We intend to vigorously defend ourselves from this frivolous action.”

The first Salt Lake Comic Con surpassed more than 72,000 fans.

In its second event, called Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, or FanX, attendance exceeded 100,000 people, making it the third largest Comic Con in the country.

And organizers say they anticipate an even larger crowd — more than 120,000 fans — at the next convention, scheduled for Sept. 4-6 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

“San Diego Comic-Con International is threatening not only us, but all the other Comic Cons by trying to prohibit them from using the term for their events,” said Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder and chief marketing officer.

He noted that San Diego Comic-Con tried to trademark “Comic Con” in 1995, but the application failed.

“Precedence for the mark ‘Comic Con’ was set when Denver Comic Con received a trademark for their convention on Nov. 26, 2013,” Brandenburg said.

“Nobody owns the words ‘Comic Con,’ short for comic convention, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office has already ruled on this.”

According to its website, organizers of the San Diego Comic-Con were “taking a short break” following this year’s convention — held July 24-27 — and therefore could not immediately be reached for comment.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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