Your Local Comic-Con May Not Be Called That Too Much Longer
San Diego Comic-Con wasn’t the first comic book convention; supposedly that was held in New York City in 1964. San Diego didn’t get started until 1970. But over time it became the standard bearer for such events, and, more importantly, it trademarked the name “Comic-Con,” meaning that while anyone could hold a comic-book convention technically and legally only they could hold call their convention a “Comic-Con.”
If you pay any attention to these events, though, you know that’s not necessarily the case. As Comic-Con has become one of the most widely known pop culture events of the entire year, local copies have popped up aping it. Some of them have also used the Comic-Con name. That might change very quickly, after a recent court case (via The Hollywood Reporter) resulted in an injunction against the Salt Lake Comic-Con, barring them from using the names “‘Comic Con’ and ‘Comic-Con’ and any phonetic equivalents (i.e. ComiKon).” A judge also ordered Salt Lake to pay some $4 million in attorney fees.
Why does this matter to you, person reading a website mostly about dorky junk in Marvel movies? Well, because there are numerous similar cases like this that were all pending the results of this one. Essentially, every local “Comic-Con” is going to have to change their name; Salt Lake Comic-Con is already now known as “FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention,” which truly rolls of the tongue like salt off a lake.
The legal argument in favor of these little cons would have been that the phrase “comic-con” had become so popularized it had become the equivalent of Xerox or Kleenex; brands that became synonymous with an item instead of a specific product. But the judge in this case rejected that as “repeated, re-argued, and recycled arguments.” So if you have a local Comic-Con in your area, you should keep your eyes and ears open; they will likely change their name and you’ll want to know what it becomes. And if you’re thinking about starting your own comic-book convention, remember: Only Comic-Con can host a Comic-Con.