Komik Kon, Komic-Con, Comic Kon… However you say it or spell it, Sand Diego Comic-Con International (CCI) won’t let you use “Comic Con” to describe your pop culture/ comic book event without a licensing agreement. Late Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia upheld a previous ruling barring Salt Lake Comic Con (Now FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention) producers Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg from using the term “Comic Con” to describe their event. The initial argument started in 2014 when Comic-Con International issued a “cease-and-desist” order to Farr and Brandenburg for their use of the word “Comic Con” to describe their Salt Lake City Comic Con event.
Farr and Brandenburg acknowledged that CCI did indeed own the term “Comic-Con” (With the hyphen) but did not own the word “Comic Con” (Minus the hyphen). The Salt Lake producers also made the argument that other event organizers have used the term Comic Con in their name with no recourse from CCI.
Judge Battaglia was quoted as saying,
“At every opportunity, DFP (Dan Farr Productions) has repeated, re-argued, and recycled arguments already briefed by both parties and analyzed and ruled on by the court, this type of wasteful litigation tactic forced SDCC to expend extra, unnecessary legal fees and drove this court to squander already limited judicial resources. The defendants repeatedly and “astonishingly” cited the Oxford Dictionary definition of “con” in mounting their defense, ultimately resembling a broken record, DFP has repetitively restated and rehashed several contentions that they were unable to advance successfully prior to trial. This type of cyclical motion practice is objectively unreasonable and has justified attorneys’ fees.”
Judge Anthony Battaglia then issued an injunction against Farr and Brandenburg from using the word “Comic Con” to describe their event and ordered them to pay nearly $4 million in attorneys’ fees and court costs. It’s likely Farr and Brandenburg will appeal the order and the legal battle over the word “Comic Con” will ensue. Stay tuned folks…