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

December 14, 2017

Festivals Extra: Rob Salkowitz On The Comic-Con Trademark Decision

Here and here.

Salkowitz does some nice work in pointing out that licensing agreements between SDCC and other entities have already happened, that appeals are restrictive in what they can change and that Reed has significantly more resources at their disposal if SDCC goes after them for their use of the trademarked term.

I'm not done going over this stuff, but one thing that pops into my head is that I wouldn't read too much into the $20K award vs. the $12M asked. I suspect that damages were asked for not because the SDCC team thought they'd happen but to make the trial a jury trial. Now that we've seen what a jury might accept as an act of appropriation, I think most of these shows have vulnerabilities to a similar claim even if they didn't drive a car around San Diego, like the Salt Lake City folks did. I also imagine that SDCC might have a protective interest in guiding what that term means -- they've taken a path that's still comic-centric, that structurally won't allow for 200K in attendance -- and this would afford them some primacy in that market. I would also imagine it would give them a step up in creating one or two more shows if that's what they want to do.

I've said this a ton of times about the possibility of a SDCC win, but I'm still sort of surprised there's a legal path here -- or at least any outcome wouldn't have surprised me; this is maybe the only thing I've learned about legal outcomes covering them the last 25 years. I don't know of another instance of an even doing something so well they took at least their model from generic to specific, but I recognize significant chunks of SDCC in all of these new shows. The model just isn't very different. I wish them luck in stewardship, since it seems that's what they've been granted. I guess I'm glad CXC isn't CCC, although as said other shows have come to agreements.

SDCC was a longtime advertiser here, so what you just read could certainly be compromised nonsense. Trust no one!
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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