A potentially precedent-setting trademark lawsuit is headed to federal court, as the Salt Lake Comic Con and Comic-Con International: San Diego head before a judge to determine whether the San Diego convention can prevent other shows from using "Comic Con" in their names.
The claim is that calling other events "Comic Con" creates brand confusion and infringes on CCI's trademark, although that trademark seemingly only applies to "Comic-Con," with a hyphen. The un-hyphenated version was found "too generic" to be trademarked when the Salt Lake Comic Con attempted to do so, and Comic Con International had abandoned a previous effort, likely for similar reasons.
"A lot of people have figured out that our case is the nexus of the 'comic con' trademark issue," said Bryan Brandenburg, one of Salt Lake Comic Con's two founders, according to a report in the Deseret News. "It's San Diego versus everyone else."
There are a number of events that use "Comic Con" in their names, including events in Salt Lake and New York which are growing in size to rival or even surpass San Diego's historic show. San Diego, however, remains the standard-bearer...so much so that next week's event is generally referred to
Brandenburg believes that Salt Lake's bid to trademark "Comic Con" having been rejected as too generic actually puts them in a strong position in defending themselves against Comic Con International's claims. He adds that there's still room for a settlement.
Comic-Con International: San Diego launches with Preview Night on Wednesday. Salt Lake Comic Con is scheduled for a September bow.