FanX to pay SDCC because of use of Comic Con
In a ruling made on Thursday August 23, 2018 by U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia, the organization formerly known as Salt Lake City Comic Con (now FanX) will pay nearly 4 million dollars to San Diego Comic Con over the use of the term “Comic-Con” or any of its derivatives.
The Legal Battle
It was back in December of 2017 that a jury sided with SDCC over the use of their trademark. The decision made on Thursday was the awarding of legal fees that were incurred during the legal battle with Dan Farr Productions, the company behind the Salt Lake convention. This included attorney fees and payments made to expert witnesses that weighed in on the case.
The new convention, now re-branded as FanX, will still run this year from September 6th through September 8th 2018. However, the event organizers—who have been in battle for over four years—are not through fighting. The use of an argument that comic-con is a generic enough term failed multiple times. The judge described it as “head in the sand’ litigation strategies”, and the event organizers released a statement saying
“We do not expect a $4 million attorney fee award predicated on a $20,000 jury verdict to survive appellate review. We have instructed our attorneys to begin working on an appeal to the 9th Circuit — while we prepare for what we expect to be our best event ever, starting September 6.”
Besides the ruling on the use of the trademark for branding, Judge Battaglia also ruled on the use of the term for other reasons. In their promotions, FanX cannot say “Formerly known as Salt Lake City Comic Con”. They also cannot hand out, sell, or give away merchandise with previous logos or branding on them. The courts have given Dan Farr Productions 30 days to comply with the decision.