Judge won’t toss Comic-Con vs. Comic Con lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has refused to toss a lawsuit filed against Salt Lake Comic Con’s organizers, accusing it of infringing on the trademark of the popular San Diego Comic-Con.

In a ruling handed down in southern California on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia rejected Salt Lake Comic Con organizers Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg’s request to rule in their favor. The judge also ruled that San Diego Comic-Con had not abandoned their trademark with a number of other events using the term “comic con.”

A FOX 13 viewer-submitted photo from the 2015 Salt Lake Comic Con.

However, the judge also sided with Salt Lake Comic Con in allowing them to proceed with arguments that “comic con” may be generic — even though he wouldn’t rule in their favor based on the same argument.

“The Court finds that Defendants (Salt Lake Comic Con’s organizers) have satisfied their burden in demonstrating a dispute of material fact as to whether Plaintiff’s mark is the victim of genericide,” Judge Battaglia wrote.

Salt Lake Comic Con organizers did not immediately have a comment on the ruling. Their event is scheduled to kick off in Utah next weekend.

The lawsuit has been going since 2014, when San Diego Comic-Con sued Salt Lake Comic Con’s organizers, accusing it of violating its copyrights on the term “comic con.” Salt Lake’s event organizers have countered that the term is used to generically describe the pop culture and comic events.

Both sides have engaged in settlement talks that have apparently gone nowhere.

Read the judge’s ruling in San Diego Comic-Con vs. Salt Lake Comic Con here: