San Diego Comic-Con vs. Salt Lake Comic Con is finally going to trial

Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 08:24:43-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- After years of legal fights and rejected settlements, the battle of the comic cons will finally be decided by a jury.

Jury selection and opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in California in San Diego Comic-Con's trademark lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con.

At its heart are the words "comic con" and who can use them. San Diego Comic-Con has trademarked the term -- with a hyphen between "comic" and "con." Salt Lake Comic Con doesn't use a hyphen, and counters that the term is generic. Organizers point to hundreds of other comic con events across the country that use it and haven't been subject to litigation.

"We're going to defend ourselves," Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg recently told FOX 13. "We don't think we've done anything wrong."

San Diego Comic-Con has repeatedly declined to comment on the litigation. Over the next two weeks, a federal jury will hear the case and decide who is able to use the words "comic con" and if anyone owes any financial damages. Witnesses scheduled to testify will include organizers of other comic cons, as well as Brandenburg and Dan Farr.

But like the comic books these events idolize, the legal battle will not end with a trial verdict. The losing side is expected to appeal the verdict to a higher court.

Brandenburg said it has been an expensive legal fight, but one that has not impacted the popular Salt Lake Comic Con. The event is one of the largest conventions Utah has, drawing hundreds of thousands to the Salt Palace every year.

"We're a hundred percent confident we can put on the next event," he said.