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FanX fears bankruptcy, harm to Utah’s economy if it is forced to pay in ‘comic con’ verdict

Posted at 7:12 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 21:12:20-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The producers of the popular FanX convention fear that they could be bankrupted and Utah’s economy could suffer if they are forced to pay $4 million in court judgments as a result of the long running lawsuit over who gets to use the words “comic con.”

In an emergency motion filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California, FanX producers Dan Farr Productions, Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg asked for a stay of a federal judge’s ruling prohibiting them from using the words “comic con” and enforcing a $20,000 judgment and nearly $4 million in attorney’s fees.

San Diego Comic-Con sued the event formerly known as Salt Lake Comic Con for trademark infringement. San Diego’s event argued it had the rights to the words “comic con.” After a trial in California last year, a jury sided with San Diego Comic-Con. Since then, San Diego organizers have pressed for a judgment against Dan Farr Productions.

“And if SDCC enforces the judgment, DFP’s destruction will cost Salt Lake City’s economy millions of dollars. But a stay likely wouldn’t harm SDCC: its likelihood of collecting the judgment increases if DFP is not driven into bankruptcy, and DFP has already changed the name of its future conventions,” Dan Farr Productions attorney L. Rex Sears wrote.

FanX’s producers argued that 110,000 people attend the event annually. They got Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to give a sworn declaration in support of their arguments, telling the appeals court the event has a “positive impact” on Utah.

“The Conventions continue to be an important part of the cultural and economic fabric of Utah and ending them would have a negative impact on the public of the state,” Reyes wrote.

FanX producers also protested the judge’s order that they delete any online or social media posts prior to the court ruling that refer to the event as “comic con.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court has not made a decision yet on the case, but is expected to weigh in before the Oct. 22 deadline.

Read the emergency motion here: