Settlement Predicted in Comic Con Name Litigation

San Diego Comic-Con International figured in two mainstream news stories today.

(1) SETTLEMENT EXPECTED. The Salt Lake Comic Con and San Diego Comic-Con are inching closer to settling a court battle over naming rights reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Lawyers for the two pop-culture conventions said they have been able to resolve many of their disagreements over whether the names are too similar, and are working on the remaining sticking points.

They asked a federal judge to give them more time, until March 1, to work on a possible agreement, according to court documents filed Friday in Southern California.

SDCC alleges that the name of Salt Lake City’s event is too similar. In court papers filed in August 2014, SDCC claimed that SLCC had piggybacked on its “creativity, ingenuity, and hard work,” and by using the Comic Con name “intended to suggest, mislead and confuse consumers into believing that the Salt Lake Comic Con convention is associated with, authorized by, endorsed by or sponsored by SDCC.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office is withholding judgment. It suspended its own ruling in November until the federal case could be resolved. In July, the office awarded Salt Lake Comic Con a trademark for its name. Officials said “comic con” was too generic to trademark but “Salt Lake Comic Con” was specific enough to qualify. While the Utah organizers called that a decisive step, San Diego disagreed.

(2) STADIUM POLITICS. The San Diego Chargers professional football team seemed to be using Comic-Con as a catspaw in its latest statement seeking support for a new stadium, by making a suggestion that the project include a permanent site for Comic-Con International and a Comic-Con museum.

At the same time, we have considered the potential benefits to both the greater San Diego region and the Chargers of a multi-use stadium/convention center facility downtown. The multi-use facility, when combined with Petco Park, the existing Convention Center, the Gaslamp Quarter, and a revitalized East Village, would create an unparalleled entertainment and sports district that will host Super Bowls and will ideally be a permanent home for Comic-Con and a Comic-Con museum. All of our research demonstrates that voters are more likely to approve a multi-use facility that would generate economic activity on hundreds of days per year, including by attracting major sporting and convention events that San Diego cannot now host. The downtown multi-use facility would also free up the existing Mission Valley site for potential use by educational institutions such as San Diego State and UCSD, as well as for a large riverfront park.

Comic-Con’s response made it clear they do not support the stadium-convention center plan.

“We have had no discussions with the Chargers and were surprised to be mentioned in their recent statement. We hope the public is aware, and we would like to reiterate our ongoing belief that a contiguous convention center expansion is the preferable solution to the limits on current convention center space. Comic-Con has doubts that a multi-use facility would serve the best interests of potential conventions hoping to exhibit in San Diego,” their own statement reads.

6 thoughts on “Settlement Predicted in Comic Con Name Litigation

  1. Got my HUGO PIN the last day or two *wobbly happy dances.* I probably won’t try to log in for a day or two in case there are problems. I just want to bask in the glow!

    Been sick with the flu for two weeks. Not. Fun.



    Am I the only one sitting in bemusement going how things have changed….the jocks are trying to co-opt the nerds to get the new shiny.

    Just. Wow.

    And good for Comic-Con for taking that stance!

  2. (1) I guess I don’t see the point here — why aren’t they suing everything that calls itself a Comic Con?

    (2) Jocks tryin’ ta steal the nerds lunch money again.

  3. lurkertype: (1) I guess I don’t see the point here — why aren’t they suing everything that calls itself a Comic Con?

    The explanation I got is that it’s cheaper to sue one con, and use the victory (if there is one) as precedent to shake down the rest. The goal is to get them to pay, not to prevent them from using the name.

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