SALT LAKE CITY – San Diego may have fired back with a lawsuit, but it’s not going to be enough to stop this fall’s Salt Lake Comic Con.
San Diego Comic Con International filed suit against Salt Lake Comic Con late Aug. 8 for using the Comic Con name and, in their words, “causing injury to SDCC.” Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, co-founders of the Salt Lake con, say that they intend to fight the suit and that September’s convention will go on as planned. In fact, organizers are already planning for a future well beyond this fall.
Convention organizers responded to San Diego Comic-Con International’s recent cease-and-desist letter with a press conference on Aug. 6, stating that the convention will not change its name and that this September’s comic con will go on as planned. In fact, organizers are already planning for a future well beyond this fall.
“We’ve already booked the Salt Palace Convention Center for 2015,” said Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “The show is going on. No one is going to chain up the doors.”
The letter from San Diego Comic-Con International, sent a few weeks ago, said that Salt Lake Comic Con is infringing on their trademarked term “Comic-Con” and causing confusion about whether the two conventions are associated. They insisted that Salt Lake change the name of its convention, and gave organizers until Aug. 6 to respond.
Brandenburg and Dan Farr, co-founder and show producer, said that they are not infringing on SDCC’s copyright and have solid legal ground to back them up. Dozens of other conventions around the country use the term “Comic Con,” including those in New York and Dallas, and SDCC has already attempted to copyright that term in 1995 and failed.
“We don’t want to pick a fight, but we’re trying to figure out why we’re being targeted,” said Farr.
Both men suggested that Salt Lake Comic Con’s recent record-breaking successes might be a factor, and Brandenburg also speculated that San Diego’s recently halted expansion plans might also be a factor. If they can’t be re-started, the convention might have to move to a different city and face its own branding troubles.
Still, Brandenburg suggested that San Diego had gotten themselves into a bigger situation than they had intended.
“There’s more at stake here than just a trademark,” he said. “In the court of public opinion, we’ve won this case.”
The two men have also applied for the trademark “Salt Lake Comic Con,” and are speaking to other comic con organizers around the country. Though they declined to name names because they “didn’t want any potential allies to be targeted next,” they said that other organizers and even some celebrities have been supportive.
“We haven’t had anyone cancel on us,” said Farr. “In fact, we’ve kind of seen the opposite. We’ve had some celebrities and vendors express distaste for (what San Diego is doing.”
Both men said it was unlikely the matter would go to trial – Brandenburg said that only 1.3 percent of trademark cases did – but that they would continue to fight if it did. If possible, however, they would prefer a more peaceful option.
“We’re open to any sort of discussion about this,” said Farr. “We want to be amicable with them. We never want artists and actors to feel like they’re caught in the middle of a battle.”
More than anything, however, they want to keep putting on the best Salt Lake Comic Con they can.
“Let’s show the world that we can throw one of the greatest parties around,” said Farr. “Let’s show the world how successful Salt Lake Comic Con can be.”