FanX pushes 9th Circuit Court to overturn ruling on ‘comic con’

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has ordered the organizers of FanX to pay nearly $4 million in attorney’s fees and prohibited them from ever using the term “comic con.”

The order issued Monday re-affirms a prior judgment from the court, which is currently under appeal. It comes as a result of the lawsuit San Diego Comic-Con leveled against what was formerly known as Salt Lake Comic Con and its producers, Dan Farr Productions.

“The Court has exhaustively and carefully considered the totality of the circumstances in this case. Having done so, the Court finds that this case stands out when compared to run of the mill trademark infringement cases,” U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battalgia wrote.

The judge also made permanent an injunction prohibiting FanX from using the term “comic con” in promotional materials.

The San Diego event sued their Salt Lake City counterparts in 2014, alleging they violated a trademark on the term “comic con.” The litigation has stretched on for years, even after a jury ruled in San Diego’s favor.

In an emergency motion with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California last year, Dan Farr Productions argued that being forced to pay $4 million in attorney’s fees could potentially bankrupt the event. FanX organizers even got Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to submit a declaration on the event’s positive impact on the state’s economy.

Reached by FOX 13 on Monday, FanX organizers pointed out the case was still under appeal before the 9th Circuit Court. A panel of judges in last year also sided with FanX organizers and halted enforcement of the $4 million judgment and use of the words while the appeal went forward.

“It was remanded for some housekeeping language. The stay is still in place while our appeal is in process and we’re looking forward to a fantastic FanX on Friday,” FanX co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said in a text message to FOX 13.

The semi-annual event brings more than 100,000 to downtown Salt Lake City to cosplay, meet pop culture celebrities, writers and artists.

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