A federal jury has ruled against Salt Lake Comic Con in a case brought by San Diego Comic-Con concerning their trademark of the words “comic con," which likely throws a wrench into the numerous conventions that have also adopted the term.
Our position is that the phrases “comic con,” “comicon” and even “comic-con” are generic and are abbreviations for the term “comic convention.” This has been a common expression since 1964, six years before San Diego Comic-Con even existed. When used with another set of words such as “Salt Lake,” “Big Apple,” Chicago” or “New York,” they become a name that has protection and exclusivity.
While SDCC won the case, the jury found Salt Lake Comic Con didn't willfully infringe upon the trademark, and the settlement they ordered SLCC to pay, only $20,000, is a good indicator that they didn't think this was that big a deal.
Still, the trademark has been upheld, which means there's some question as to how conventions that use the "comic con" label will proceed.