The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California has new information to consider in the ongoing trademark infringement dispute between San Diego Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con. After San Diego Comic-Con sued Salt Lake Comic Con for infringing on its trademark of 'comic-con," Salt Lake Comic Con registered a trademark of its own.
In August 2014, San Diego Comic-Con International filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con in an attempt to prevent the organization from using the words 'comic con" in its name or advertising material. Although San Diego Comic-Con owns a trademark for the hyphenated 'comic-con," it does not own a trademark for the unhyphenated phrase. In its decision to register the trademark 'Salt Lake Comic Con," the United States Patent and Trademark Office said that the term 'comic con" on its own was too generic for a trademark.
A cofounder of Salt Lake Comic Con said that the fact that his organization was granted a trademark for its name proves that the name is distinguishable from San Diego Comic-Con International's name and does not infringe on a trademark. Organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con say that they are defending themselves against the trademark infringement claim so that other 'comic con" events around the country do not have to face similar lawsuits.
Sometimes registering trademarks is the best way that a company can defend itself against the potential for trademark infringement lawsuits from other entities. A lawyer may be able to help a company to identify what phrases or word pairs are likely to be eligible for registration.
Source: Deseret News, "Salt Lake Comic Con trademark win has organizers feeling optimistic about naming lawsuit," McKenzie Romero, July 23, 2015