Thinking of starting up a homegrown comic book convention? Best to excise the term “comic con” from your event’s title now, because a jury just sided with Comic-Con International in San Diego in a trademark case against a Utah-based comic convention.
A jury has ruled that Salt Lake Comic Con was in the wrong for using the phrase “comic con” in their event’s name. Representatives from San Diego Comic-Con argued that the use of the phrase “comic con” in the Utah event’s title was designed to confuse conventiongoers. The jury determined Salt Lake Comic Con did just that, though not intentionally.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that San Diego Comic-Con sought $12 million in damages, though only $20,000 of that was awarded. This was likely a relief for the Utah convention, which has only seen $3 million in profits since the event’s founding in 2013.
The trademark lawsuit was first filed back in 2014, with deliberations finally being held last Thursday. The roughly 140 events in the United States that include the phrase “comic con” in their title will likely be pushed to find a new name now that a legal precedent has been set.
The phrase “comic con” is a shortening of the words “comic” and “convention.” San Diego Comic-Con is the most notable event to include the phrase, but it didn’t start off that way. The inaugural San Diego Comic-Con was held in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention.