Salt Lake Comic Con loses trademark case with San Diego Comic-Con

Salt Lake Comic Con loses trademark case with San Diego Comic-Con

There is a court battle between rival pop-culture conventions in California and Utah who are battling over rights to use the phrase "comic con".

During closing arguments Thursday, San Diego Comic-Con's attorney Callie Bjurstrom of Pillsbury indicated her client may do just that.

"While it is likely that organizers of the Utah event will appeal, Friday's verdict culminates a testy squabble that began three years ago when Salt Lake's producers drove around downtown San Diego for two days during the July convention in a $200,000 Audi R8 Spyder wrapped with an image of 'Salt Lake Comic Con, '" reported The San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Diego Comic-Con sought $9.6 million in damages for a "corrective advertising" campaign. Utah organizers contend the phrase is generic and used by 140 different events nationwide.

A six-person jury late Friday found San Diego Comic-Con's trademark is valid and enforceable, and awarded the decades-old comic convention $20,000 in damages caused by another city convention's use of the mark.

Lawyers for the well-known San Diego convention argued during the trial that the upstart event in Salt Lake stole their name to benefit from their reputation built over years of hard work, Salt Lake City-based newspaper The Deseret News reported.

Salt Lake, though, maintains the phrase is a generic shortened form of "comic book convention" and used by 140 events around the country. Both are known for guests elaborately costumed as superheros, movie villains and more. However, jurors found that the defendants "did not willfully" infringe on the trademarks.

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Their statement continued: "San Diego Comic Convention has used the Comic-Con trademarks in connection with our comics and popular arts conventions for nearly 50 years".

San Diego claimed that Salt Lake's use of the name was either identical or confusingly similar to San Diego and because of that, it hurt San Diego's brand. A hearing date has not yet been set.

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