(Scroll to bottom for updates - last updated 2:56PM Pacific)
We've learned that San Diego Comic Con, the biggest comic event of the year, has allegedly sent a cease and desist letter to the smaller Salt Lake Comic Con over the use of the term "comic con," which, according to SLCC, SDCC is claiming as their trademark. SLCC responded with a press release, reprinted below, claming that "comic con" is a genericized trademark and anyone should be allowed to use it. You can view a copy of the letter here.
In the press release, SLCC founder Bryan Brandenburg explained his case:
San Diego Comic-Con International is threatening not only us, but all the other Comic Cons by trying to prohibit them from using the term for their events. San Diego Comic-Con attempted to trademark ‘Comic Con’ in 1995 and the application failed. Furthermore, precedence for the mark ‘Comic Con’ was set when Denver Comic Con received a trademark for their convention on November 26, 2013. Nobody owns the words ‘Comic Con’ (short for comic convention) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office has already ruled on this.
Are they correct? Well, we don't know. That's for lawyers to figure out.
Outhouser and host of the popular of the Why I Love Comics Podcast, Eric Ratcliffe received this tip in an email, and we've checked it out and can verify that this is an actual press release sent out by Salt Lake Comic Con in response to a letter they claim to have received from San Diego Comic Con. Beyond that, we'll have to wait to learn more. We've reached out to both conventions for comment and we'll update this article with more information as it becomes available.
Here's the press release:
San Diego Comic-Con International vs. Salt Lake Comic Con
- San Diego Comic-Con International sends cease and desist order siting intellectual property infringement for use of name of “Comic Con” -
SALT LAKE CITY, – On Friday, July 25, 2014 Salt Lake Comic Con (http://saltlakecomiccon.com/) organizers received a cease and desist order from San Diego Comic-Con International asserting that Salt Lake Comic Con cannot use the term “Comic Con” for any event, logo, trademark or website moving forward, further claiming ownership of all variations of the generic term “Comic Con.”
San Diego Comic-Con International is asserting intellectual property infringement for use of the name “Comic Con”, challenging hundreds of comic conventions around the country and the world already using the words comic con for their show.
To view a copy of the cease and desist order or to join Salt Lake Comic Con’s effort to protect Comic Con, click here.
Dan Farr Productions produces the Salt Lake Comic Con events. The next Salt Lake Comic Con is scheduled for at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.
“This cease and desist order is baseless and has been attempted before by this organization and has failed. Our primary concern is our fans and making sure we provide them with an event that allows them to meet, greet and get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities and pop culture icons,” said Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con Founder and Show Producer. “We’re puzzled why Salt Lake Comic Con was apparently singled out amongst the hundreds of Comic Cons around the country and the world. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves from this frivolous action.”
In one year, Salt Lake Comic Con has achieved record setting success. The first Salt Lake Comic Con surpassed more than 72,000 fans. In its second event called Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience (FanX) attendance exceeded more than 100,000 people making it the third largest Comic Con in the country. For Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 show organizers anticipate an even larger outpouring of fan support with expectations of more than 120,000 fans.
“San Diego Comic-Con International is threatening not only us, but all the other Comic Cons by trying to prohibit them from using the term for their events, “said Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “San Diego Comic-Con attempted to trademark ‘Comic Con’ in 1995 and the application failed. Furthermore, precedence for the mark ‘Comic Con’ was set when Denver Comic Con received a trademark for their convention on November 26, 2013. Nobody owns the words ‘Comic Con’ (short for comic convention) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office has already ruled on this.”
To find out more information about Salt Lake Comic Con, the country’s third largest comic con, visit the Salt Lake Comic Con website.
ABOUT SALT LAKE COMIC CON:
Salt Lake Comic Con is organized by Dan Farr Productions in partnership with Media One of Utah, a joint operating agreement between the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and ABC4/CW30 of the Nexstar Broadcasting Group. Dan Farr Productions is an event and marketing group devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium celebrities and brands in the pop culture arena. Dan Farr Productions is dedicated to producing spectacular celebrations of popular culture that lead the market in providing exceptional and rewarding experiences for our consumers, fans, celebrity guests, vendors and partners. Find out more at: www.SaltLakeComicCon.com, www.mediaoneutah.com,www.abc4.com/.
Update 2:56PM Pacific: We spoke to Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg, who told us Salt Lake Comic Con will fight the cease and desist "until they prevail." Read our full interview here.
Comic Con International also responded to our request for comment with the following email reply:
Comic-Con International has no affiliation with any conventions in Utah. For info on our conventions please visit www.comic-con.org
Update 10:08 AM Pacific (Sunday): Comic Con International replied with a more fitting response this morning:
"We are the registered owner of the Comic-Con trademark and confusingly similar variants. When confusion arises with regard to our name, we are obligated to protect our mark." - Comic-Con International