According to a new report from the Hollywood Reporter, a California federal judge placed an injunction on the phrase "Comic Con" in a bitter court battle between the San Diego convention and its Salt Lake City competitor.
San Diego Comic Convention faced off against Salt Lake Comic Con organizers Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenberg in court last year where the jury found Salt Lake infringing on trademarks with use of the phrase. Salt Lake was not found of willfulness and was only ordered to pay $20,000 in corrective advertising.
After requesting U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia to start a new trial, the judge issued another blow by upholding the order and putting the injunction in place. Salt Lake Comic Con was also ordered to play $4 million in attorney fees and court costs.
The injunction includes phonetic phrases such as "Comic-Con" and "ComiKon," and has already caused conventions across the country. Salt Lake Comic Con has already rebranded as FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention. Phoenix Comic Con became Phoenix Comic Fest in 2018, and is rebranding once more as Phoenix Fan Fusion in 2019.
The ruling states that the Salt Lake organizers cannot use the term on social media, nor can they advertise the phrase "formerly known as Salt Lake Comic Con." They are however not required to destroy already made merchandise and marketing materials with the term, which is a minor victory for them considering the convention begins September 6th.
Judge Battaglia also refused to stretch the injunction to include the phrase "Comic Convention.3comments
The report from THR also states that San Diego Comic Convention had multiple lawsuits of trademark infringement filed against other conventions across the country, which were all put on hold for this case.
It's likely that if this victory is upheld, SDCC will challenge bigger competitors such as New York Comic Con unless a deal can be made with parent company Reed Exhibitions can secure a license to continue using the name.