Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

December 11, 2017

Comic-Con International Wins Suit Against Salt Lake Comic Con Over Comic Con Trademark

Late Friday afternoon brought news that Comic-Con International won its trademark infringement case against Salt Lake Comic Con over use of the phrase Comic Con. CCI claimed that use of the term by the Salt Lake group violated their trademark; the Salt Lake group held that the term was generic.

CCI was awarded only $20,000 -- far shy of its $12 million ask -- because the court determined the violation wasn't a "willful infringement."

I've long been of two minds about the case. I actually doubted that CCI could find legal standing for their claim because of the ubiquity and historical nature of the phrase but I have always been 100 percent certain that newer shows like the one in Salt Lake use "comic-con" or a near-derivative to indicate the exact experience created by CCI if not the actual show itself, at least way more than they use the term to mean a generic comics show of some sort.

Where this continues is if Salt Lake appeals, which might itself depend on whether or not CCI uses the decision to seek an injunction against Salt Lake and other shows that use the term. It is also unknown if Salt Lake will continue to seek formal cancellation of CCI's claim at the trademark office level.
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

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