Now everyone's trademarking everything

28 JULY 2015

You clearly didn't get enough trademark legalese served up to you over the weekend regarding San Diego Comic-Con vs Salt Lake Comic Con - so here's more.

Bleeding Cool reports that various other Cons are trying to trademark their names, specifically Boston Comic Con, Rhode Island Comic Con and Kansas Comic Con. (Nary a hyphen to be found, you'll note.) And that Grand Rapids Comic Con actually quit trying for a trademark after being rebuffed by the trademark office with a complicated statement that began, "In the case of Comic-Con, applicant has merely added geographically descriptive wording to a registered trademark. Adding a term to a registered mark generally does not obviate the similarity between the compared marks..."

Et cetera.

I skipped on over to Salt Lake's exhaustive page about the whole subject and found some interesting claims. Such as:

- "Comic Con" has been a "common expression since 1964," years before San Diego Comic-Con was born. Really? I'm sure they have sources for this, but that's definitely news to me. That means the characters on Mad Men could have gone to Comic Con.

- Wait, yes, they even have a newspaper illustration that says "Attend the 1967 Houston Comic-Con June 16-18!!" This is real. SDCC is not the Lucy fossil of comic conventions.

- Just to drive that home: "San Diego wasn't the first comic con. According to the history books, comic cons originated in New York and the United Kingdom at least 6 years before the first San Diego event."

Salt Lake also dug in by posting Alexa scores and some weirdness about SDCC adding 500,000 Facebook fans from Mexico City. And they included one of my favorite articles about SDCC, which goes beyond panting over celebrities and addresses the actual Con itself.

My point being: it's worth visiting their page and looking through all their historical documentation. Even if you're growing bored with this lawsuit, it's generally interesting stuff. Again, I would love to point people to SDCC's "side" of this for the sake of fairness - but there's nowhere to point.

Which is kind of what makes this all so fascinating. You have two major players committed to battle. One old, one new; one bull-headed and silent, one tireless and expressive. Neither shows any sign of wavering. It's like an old Norse legend or lost George RR Martin manuscript come to life - but in a really tedious way. Who's going to win? How will this affect other Cons? What actually happens in SDCC's most secret High Cabal meetings?

We'll probably never know that last. But this legal grudge match has to end decisively at some point or another. Let's just hope it doesn't turn into another convention center expansion and linger unresolved for years.

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