(Deseret News) SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s homegrown pop culture convention dropped a new website Wednesday, signaling an official name change after losing a trial over a trademark dispute with a San Diego organization.

The rebranding comes even as the dueling conventions launched a volley of post-trial motions seeking new verdicts on the points they each lost. Salt Lake Comic Con launched the website under the name FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, the name it has been floating on social media accounts since a jury last month found that calling the event a “comic con” violated trademark laws.

The jury’s decision asserted that San Diego Comic-Con International — the widely known annual celebration of comics and popular arts — holds a valid trademark on the term “comic-con,” and that the Salt Lake event and its founders were using it without permission.

Because San Diego’s trademarks on “Comic-Con International” and its iconic “eye logo” also include the term, jurors found they were being infringed upon as well.

However, the jury also ruled that the trademarks weren’t violated wilfully, and no false designation had occurred, meaning the Salt Lake event had never purported to be affiliated with San Diego’s. Ultimately, only $20,000 of the $12 million San Diego Comic-Con had sought in damages was awarded.

Attorneys for the Salt Lake event filed a motion in Southern California’s U.S. District Court on Wednesday asking for a new trial on whether San Diego Comic-Con’s trademarks have become too generic to be protected.

The motion claims that Judge Anthony Battaglia’s pretrial rulings in San Diego’s favor crippled Salt Lake’s arguments that comic con is generic, including restricting evidence other conventions had been using the term in the 1960s, a decade before San Diego was.

Salt Lake also disputes the judge’s instruction to jurors that third-party use of a trademarked term is not justification to find it has become generic, and that San Diego is not required to police other trademark violations in order to maintain its right to the term(…)



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