And Now Here Comes Every Other Comic Convention With Trademark Apps For The Generic 'Comic Con'

from the you-guys-aren't-getting-it dept

Roughly a year ago, we brought you the very dumb story of the San Diego Comic-Con suing Don Farr Productions, organizers of the Salt Lake City Comic Con, for trademark infringement. If ever there were a classic case of a trademark that had moved into a generic status, "comic-con" and similar iterations would have to be it. There are comic cons everywhere. In the midst of all this, or perhaps because of it, the Salt Lake City Comic Con applied for its own trademark over its name, which, again, ought to have been denied as being too generic in my opinion. The USPTO, in its infinite wisdom, disagreed, granting them the mark as the trademark suit is still going on. You already know what happened next, don't you?

Yup, every other comics convention that uses comic con, the term so generic that everyone effing uses it, is now lining up at the USPTO's door to get their own trademarks.

This week sees the kick-off of this year’s Boston Comic Con. Which seems a good a time as any to register the trademark for the name for “Organizing and conducting conventions, exhibitions, and gatherings for entertainment purposes and in the fields of artwork, animation, comic books, fantasy, gaming, popular culture, science fiction, and television and film” and for “Comic books, commemorative comic books, posters, commemorative posters” and “T-shirts, commemorative T-shirts.”

They are not alone. Rhode Island Comic Con and Kansas Comic Con have also launched trademark bids in the past month. ‘Tis the season… they may be inspired by the attempts and claims of Salt Lake Comic Con. Denver Comic Con also has a trademark registration.
And unless this is stopped tout de suite, there's absolutely no reason to expect that all the other comic cons in all the other cities will be filing their applications soon. Why wouldn't they? The USPTO, in conjunction with a lawsuit over a term that hasn't yet been ruled generic, but should be, have thrown open the door for everyone to get their piece of the generic pie. And the end result of all of this? Tons of billable hours, of course.
They can expect a challenge from Comic-Con International, the organisers of San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon, who own the trademarks on San Diego Comic-Con, Anaheim Comic-Con, San Francisco Comic-Con and Los Angeles Comic-Con.
Why? Why? Why pay a legal team to spend a ton of time and money fighting for a mark that doesn't threaten you, that has become generic, and that has been employed the entire time your own mega-popular convention has become insanely successful. Why are we doing any of this?

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Filed Under: comic con, comicon, trademark


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 5:14pm

    Why? Why? Why pay a legal team to spend a ton of time and money fighting for a mark that doesn't threaten you, that has become generic, and that has been employed the entire time your own mega-popular convention has become insanely successful. Why are we doing any of this?

    Lawyers and idiot examiners.

    Lawyers for conning their clients into thinking that if they don't file for a trademark someone else will, and they'll be forced to stop using the ludicrously generic 'Comic-con' name, leading to tons of billable hours no matter what happens, and idiot examiners for not doing 30 freakin' seconds of research and noticing that the two words are used everywhere, meaning it is well past the point where anyone should get a trademark on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 6:37pm

    Mega - Cons seem to have run their course for avg. joes.

    I enjoy going to the smaller cons that are all over the place where the big money doesnt exist. They are much more fun and down to earth. The people are nice and fun to talk to and you can have a non-hectic fun time. Spend your money at 10 small cons instead of 1 giant one. You will enjoy it more and they will appreciate you. At every small con I have been to I have been greeted at the door by the actual people who organized the con. Personal service at its best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Andrew (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 7:44pm

    Not worth going to them

    Instead, why not come to Dragon Con, which has a whole track dedicated to the sort of stuff Techdirt covers.

    In 2012 we had Bruce Schneier, in 2013 the ACLU's Chris Soghoian, last year we had Kurt Opsahl of the EFF, and this year it's a mixture of EFF, Accessnow, and public knowledge, as well as our regular hackers, cryptographers, and lawyers.

    Our panels are meant to be more for the 'interested' rather than the expert, of course, and aim to cover as many topics as we can, so while Mike or Glyn might not learn much, many should. (and yes, I've asked Mike if he's interested in being a Guest before, but he couldn't make last year).

    Hotels are going to be hard to find (all 5 host hotels each sold out within 15 minutes - not easy for 5 thousand-bed hotels at $240/night but there are overflow ones around, and MARTA.

    So come if you can, and if you do, say 'hi', I'm the British guy making the track work!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 31 Jul 2015 @ 10:09pm

    Does that mean if I'm a comedian who has a criminal record I won't be able to call myself Kronomex the Comic Con?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2015 @ 3:53am

    look at stupid patents ,
    plus lawyers ,plus stupid examiners =more money for the system,
    america has too may lawyers .
    = more court cases,
    comic cons are in most countrys now,
    its a generic term used where pop culture sf fans tv fans meet up ,
    you may as well trademark bake sale or church meeting .
    get around this have say boston Comiccon =1 word.
    people will still go to it .
    Patent examiners should not allow patents on colours eg blue or generic words in common use .
    the word comic con is used by everyone .
    refuse any patent,trade mark on it .
    am i gonna hold a con in new jersey and call it san diego con,
    thats unlikely .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dr evil, 1 Aug 2015 @ 7:24am

    what to do

    instead of fighting directly, proactively attack! Every con out there should jointly and severally (sp?) petition to have the 'comic con' part of TM invalidated. we will all sign, da?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2015 @ 7:32am

    It's a Trademark-Con

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 1 Aug 2015 @ 1:23pm

    The snowball continues to roll downhill...

    Tune in next week when Ringling Bros Circus, sues every other circus on earth for infringement over the word Circus, including Circe De Soleil.

    Ah the joys of legal insanity.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2015 @ 8:10am

    It'a actually Dan Farr, but you know accuracy in reporting isn't relevent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Atkray (profile), 2 Aug 2015 @ 9:27pm

      Re:

      There is an important difference between a typo/possible auto-correct and inaccurate reporting.

      I didn't think the difference was all that subtle but apparently some people have a hard time distinguishing.

      The error you are pointing out is an example of a typo not inaccurate reporting.

      I suggest you bookmark it for future reference.
      Hope this helps.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 12:20am

        Re: Re:

        Well, what's important isn't the actual error. It's that an AC has a way to attack the article without having to bother questioning the actual points, stances or facts in the article itself. Typos just mean that the AC contingent don't have to think too hard and can skip the personal attacks and chicken impressions.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 3:20pm

    Why? Why? Why pay a legal team to spend a ton of time and money fighting for a mark that doesn't threaten you, that has become generic, and that has been employed the entire time your own mega-popular convention has become insanely successful. Why are we doing any of this?

    Because they don't pay a legal team explicitly to spend a ton of time and money fighting useless stuff. The legal team is normally paid to keep legal threats away and collect on dues, but the legal team often strong-arms their way into dumb shit like this to rake in extra billable hours.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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