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Comic-Con International — which holds comic and gaming conventions throughout the world — has prevailed in a recent trademark dispute with a rival convention operating in Utah. In its trademark infringement lawsuit, Comic-Con International claimed that it held exclusive rights to the name, “comic con.”

The trademark infringement suit was filed in San Diego federal court. The court ruled that Comic-Con International is the owner of the mark “Comic Con” and that the use of the name “Salt Lake Comic Con” by the rival convention was an infringement on the mark.

It’s expected that the Salt Lake Comic Con organizers will appeal, which would continue the already three-years’-long battle between the two organizations. The dispute arose after word spread that the Salt Lake Comic Con organizers drove around San Diego — the headquarters of Comic-Con International — in a $200,000 Audi that had been wrapped with images advertising for “Salt Lake Comic Con.”

Before filing the trademark infringement lawsuit in 2014, Comic-Con International sent numerous cease-and-desist letters requesting that the producers of the Salt Lake event stop using its name. However, the rival group continued in spite of the warnings, and eventually they solidified the dispute in court.

It’s not uncommon for groups and organizations to try and piggyback on a successful name established by another company. When this happens, if the first company has protected its trademark rights, there are legal steps the first company can take to safeguard its legal rights. This may involve sending a cease and desist letter and negotiating a settlement to the dispute. In more serious situations, it may require the infringed party to file a lawsuit in federal court.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, “Comic-Con wins legal fight over rights to its name,” Lori Weisberg, Dec. 9, 2017