The Comic Con trademark battle keeps spreading

20 JANUARY 2018





If tedious lawsuits are your thing, and you were disappointed by the seeming resolution of San Diego Comic-Con's lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con in December, I have good news for you - it's ongoing and more players have jumped into the mix.

Here's where we are currently:

  • Salt Lake has spent over a cool million in fees on this case and is now considering crowdfunding to pay it all off.

  • There apparently will be a documentary about the case, which I am so here for. 


  • Salt Lake's reason: asking for a reconsideration on the genericness of the term Comic Con; also that the court precluded evidence and gave the jury improper instructions.

  • CCI's reason: they don't like the tiny settlement they were awarded ($20K) and they want a stronger verdict regarding the "willfulness" with which SLCC violated their trademark. They want a new trial, some of SLCC's profits, $4.5 million in legal fees and a pound of flesh - or at least, a recognition that Salt Lake's attorneys engaged in an "all-out war" and "staggering" misconduct in that they "preyed on the sympathies of the jury."
And they may need that $4.5 million for future lawsuits. While other Cons have proactively changed their names to avoid being sued by CCI, one of those Cons, Phoenix Comic Fest (formerly Phoenix Comicon) has filed a motion to strike down SDCC's "Comic Con" trademark and have CCI pay their legal bills. Nervy!

In other words, CCI may lose their trademark, letting Salt Lake and other Cons freely use "Comic Con," "Comic-Con," "Comicon" and any other permutations of the name - setting them back where they started but millions of dollars poorer. It's dizzying to contemplate. Even if they stay victorious in all these lawsuits, it's hard to foresee an outcome where they come out on top of their attorney fees.

In the meantime, we're left with our questions.Will the lawsuit documentary be screened at the SDCC film festival? Will other smaller Cons jump on, burying CCI in lawsuits like velociraptors attacking a T-rex? How will the new trial turn out, if we get one? We'll just have to wait and see.

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