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SL Comic Con’s legal battle heats up

SL Comic Con’s Legal Battle Heats Up

(KUTV) What’s in a name? Apparently quite a lot, according to San Diego Comic-Con organizers poised to kickoff their massive convention in Southern California next week. But it was one year ago, they reached out to their newer neighbors in Salt Lake and told them to stop using the name “Comic Con.” Salt Lake founders fought back and now a federal judge says it is time to take this name challenge to court.

“This is kind of the nexus for this whole trademark dispute – right here in Salt Lake City,” Bryan Brandenburg, co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con told 2News Amy Nay Friday.

He says Salt Lake is home to the largest comic con event in the world – per capita. He says, “Almost across the board, whether it be Avengers, or comic books, Utah is the geekiest place in the country!”

The people of Utah seem to love the new pop culture convention that features cosplay, unique vendors and panel discussions with fans’ favorite stars.

“It’s one thing to see your favorite celebrity or comic artist on television or read about them on the web, but to be with 3,000 peers - local people - in an audience and have them laugh and moan at the same time, it is pretty spectacular,” Brandenburg said.

Fans have poured into the Salt Palace for the event in droves. Tickets sold for the last event were well over 100,000.

The calendar would be set by the federal judge to begin with pre-trial hearings sometime in July. Brandenburg says the two sides can still try to come to some sort of an agreement, but the trial process has begun.

“People are really watching it closely, because a decision with us affects everybody.”

Brandenburg says other Comic Cons could face similar litigation if this were to go in favor of San Diego.

However, Brandenburg believes the larger, more established convention has no case. He says the term is simply too generic to trademark, something Salt Lake organizers found out when they tried to trademark their name and failed.

“Attorneys with the U.S. trademark office essentially validated our case, saying Comic Con is merely descriptive. It can’t be trademarked,” Brandenburg told 2News.

The next Comic Con in Salt Lake is set for September 24 at the Salt Palace. Actors like Ian Somerhalder from Vampire Diaries, Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings and Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead fame have already committed to attend. But organizers say they’re close to securing even bigger names for September’s convention with a major announcement coming as early as this coming weekend. Brandenburg jokingly smiled Friday and said despite the ongoing litigation, “The show must go on, right?”

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