SALT LAKE CITY — Actors Zachary Levi, Manu Bennett and Kevin Sorbo are among a number of celebrity guests of the convention formerly known as “Salt Lake Comic Con” who are weighing in on the trademark battle with San Diego Comic-Con.
In a “friend of the court” brief filed before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday and obtained by FOX 13, the actors and comic convention producer Jim Burleson, consultant Julie Caitlin Brown and Wizard CEO John Maatta urged the court to side with Dan Farr Productions in its appeal of San Diego Comic-Con’s trademark verdict. They all argue they regularly organize or appear at comic conventions around the country.
“If San Diego Comic Convention is allowed exclusive use of ‘comic con’ hundreds of conventions will be forced to incur the cost of either licensing the use of ‘comic con’ from San Diego Comic Convention or of renaming and/or remarketing their events. Many comic conventions will not be able to afford these costs and would be forced to close. The closure of comic conventions would have a negative impact on comic convention producers, guests, organizations guests represent, vendors, attendees, and the cities and venues where such conventions are held,” the filing states.
Levi is starring in the upcoming film “Shazam!” and was recently in “Tangled” and “Thor” films. Bennett was in “The Hobbit” films and the TV show “Arrow.” Sorbo is best known for his role as “Hercules” and in “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
The celebrities are the highest profile fans to lend their names to the years-long legal battle between Salt Lake’s event and San Diego Comic-Con. San Diego Comic Con sued Dan Farr Productions over the use of the term “comic con,” which it holds a trademark on. A jury sided with San Diego, but Salt Lake event organizers are appealing the verdict. The convention has since rebranded itself as “FanX.”
Levi, Bennett, Sorbo and the others argue the term “comic con” is generic.
“These individuals have always understood ‘comic con’ to be an abbreviation for the generic phrase ‘comic convention.’ Similarly, the comic conventions attended by these individuals have all been referred to by attendees, guests, and producers as ‘comic cons.’ These individuals have never gone to a ‘comic con’ other than the San Diego Comic Convention that they believed was affiliated with the San Diego Comic Convention due to the use of the term ‘comic con.’ These individuals each have an interest in the outcome of this litigation,” the filing says.
Read the filing here (refresh the page if it doesn’t immediately load):