Throughout the midst of this week, I haven’t seen too many eye-catching strange occurrences happening in the legal world. But then I realized there was something major happening: Comic Con. If you’ve seen or read the news in the past week or so, you may have been hearing about San Diego Comic- Con, one of the nation’s largest comic conventions. If you remember from my Nerds and the Law segment that I started at the beginning of the June, I mentioned I was a nerd and proud of it. Comic Con is a heaven for nerds; but the title of Comic Con doesn’t just belong to San Diego, it belongs to other Comic Conventions like New York Comic Con, Boston Comic Con and Tampa Bay Comic Con (which I will be attending this weekend). But the convention that’s in question here is Salt Lake Comic Con, a comic convention that has done so well for its first year; it’s received a cease-and-desist letter from San Diego Comic-Con.
The Comic Con-fusion
Fan and comic based conventions have been around since the 1950’s and they’re not going away anytime soon. More notably, San Diego Comic-Con has been around since the 1970’s and has even trademarked its “Comic-Con” name. Alas, this is where the confusion comes into play, because as of the beginning of this week; Salt Lake Comic Con received a cease-and-desist from the behemoth convention giant stating that there was confusion between the two names. The letter in question even states:
“It is clear that your convention services are for the exact services identified (with SDCC)… Moreover, these services are directed at the same attendees and exhibitors as are the SDCC’s Comic-Con services”.
But this isn’t the first time San Diego Comic-Con has tried this stunt, reports Bryan Brandenburg Co-CEO of Salt Lake Comic Con. They tried it once before with Chicago Comic Con and failed. Brandenburg also noted that Comic Con is not a unique phrase as there are a number of comic based conventions around the world with a similar title.
However, you may be wondering why there’s a bit of misunderstanding with the popular phrase. The term “Comic-Con” is a trademarked name, but not the phrase “Comic Con”. The only difference is the hyphenation between the two words.
But this bit of con-fusion spells a bit of disaster for not only the Salt Lake show, but other conventions around the nation as well. If the issue lands in court and SDCC succeeds, it could mean disaster for all other Comic Cons with the same title.
Brandenburg reported that Salt Lake Comic Con has always prevailed and will do it again despite the threatened litigation. As for now, the Salt Lake show is all set to happen in September and he expects that this year will be the biggest and best yet.