A federal jury has ruled in San Diego Comic-Con’s favor in a suit brought against Salt Lake Comic Con for violating copyright law with their use of the term “comic con.”
According to a report by Fox13 in Salt Lake City, the verdict came down on Friday afternoon, and it found SDCC’s trademark is valid, and that Salt Lake Comic Con used it without permission. San Diego Comic-Con initially sought up to $12 million in damages from Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con’s organizers, but was rewarded only $20,000. According to the ruling, the violation was not a “willful infringement” of the copyright.
In a statement, San Diego Comic-Con said:
San Diego Comic Convention has used the Comic-Con trademarks in connection with our comics and popular arts conventions for almost 50 years. We have invested substantial time, talent and resources in our brand resulting in world-wide recognition of the Comic-Con convention held annually in San Diego. The jury today upheld San Diego Comic Convention’s trademarks as valid. The jury also found that Dan Farr Productions, Daniel Farr and Bryan Brandenburg each infringed San Diego Comic Convention’s marks. San Diego Comic Convention respects the decision of the jury. From the beginning all that we asked of the defendants was to stop using our Comic-Con trademarks. Today we obtained a verdict that will allow us to achieve this. For that we are grateful.
Only the future will tell what this ruling means and whether or not many of the small Comic Cons around the country will have to spend the money to rename their conventions.