Business Dispute: San Diego Comic Con Sues Salt Lake City Comic Con

LONDON, UK - OCTOBER 28: Darth Vader and Storm Troopers pose at

San Diego Comic Con, that most famous of comic book and sci-fi conventions, is in a legal battle with neighboring Salt Lake Comic Con. The suit is one of copyright infringement, as San Diego is alleging Salt Lake has capitalized on its intellectual property to enhance its own convention. The heart of the issue come down to the similarity in names, which San Diego alleges can be confusing to convention-goers. While other cities in the United States have similar conventions and call them Comic Cons, the similar sounding names of San Diego and Salt Lake were enough for San Diego to single out Utah’s capitol city for suing.

Salt Lake City Comic Con Hires Attorney to Represent them in Business Dispute

Salt Lake is having none of it. In fact, Salt Lake has hired a lawyer from San Diego’s own state of California to represent them. The organizers of the Salt Lake convention have hired Sterling Brennan, an Orange County, California attorney to defend them against San Diego’s assertions that the two convention names are similar enough to cause a trademark violation. San Diego also alleges people may think the two conventions are associated with each other due to the similar names. Brennan is tasked with defending Salt Lake against these allegations and obtaining a court ruling that will allow them to retain their convention name.

Brennan and those who work for him are known to be among the best intellectual property lawyers in the country. Hiring him shows that Salt Lake means business when it comes to keeping its name. In business to business disputes like this, particularly intellectual property and trademark violation lawsuits, the legal waters can often be murky. The choice of Brennan as the attorney for the case ensures Salt Lake of getting a fair trial against the larger, better known, and more powerful San Diego convention.

Brennan already has a successful track record under his belt in defending these types of cases. He is perhaps best known for successfully defending the Novell corporation in retaining its ownership of the UNIX operating system name in 2012. Those who are watching the case, especially fans of the Salt Lake City convention, hope that a win for Salt Lake will set a legal precedent that will even the playing field for it and other comic book conventions across the country.

If the court sides with the much newer and smaller Salt Lake convention over the older and more recognized San Diego convention, San Diego’s power in the convention world will be limited to its own event. It will not have any type of power over other, similar conventions. This is exactly what the fans of Salt Lake and other small conventions want. A win for Salt Lake is a win for smaller conventions everywhere in the United States. With Brennan, they stand a good chance of getting it.

The lawsuit began on August 7, 2014, when San Diego Comic Con filed its initial complaint in the U.S. District Court in Southern California. In its complaint, San Diego is seeking an injunction against Salt Lake from calling itself the Salt Lake Comic Con, and is also seeking financial damages caused by Salt Lake’s use of the name to date. The organizers of the San Diego Comic Con allege that the Utah convention has been reaping the benefits of the hard work and good name of the San Diego convention by infringing upon its trademark in using a too similar name.

The Salt Lake convention organizers have publicly said the lawsuit is without merit. Meanwhile, they are working with their attorney to draft an official response to San Diego’s lawsuit which must be filed with the court by early September.

The organizers of the Salt Lake convention would like to resolve the dispute amicably. However, they are prepared to take it to court if necessary, and to fight it all the way to the highest court that will hear the case.

This goes to show how important it is to get good representation in business to business lawsuits. Salt Lake’s choice of attorney may make all the difference for them. If your company is facing a business to business lawsuit, the Coulter Law Group can make all the difference for you, too.