More Comic Conventions Change Their Names After Crazy SDCC Attorney's Fees And Injunction Ruling

from the what's-in-a-name? dept

We were just talking about the odd ruling that came down in which the court overseeing the trademark dispute between the San Diego Comic-Con and the former Salt Lake Comic Con somehow awarded $4 million in attorney's fees, despite the jury award for trademark infringement amounting only to $20k. In addition to the award of attorney's fees, Judge Battaglia also issued an injunction barring the Salt Lake show from calling itself any variation of the term "comic con" but, oddly, refused to issue a similar injunction barring it from calling itself a "comic convention." As we noted at the time, it's plainly absurd that the "vention" difference there is doing that much heavy lifting in the court's mind.

But the reverberations of the ruling are now being felt throughout the country, with one company that puts on many comic conventions doing sweeping name changes for many of its shows.

Tampa Bay Comic Con has changed its name to Tampa Bay Comic Convention. The change comes less than two weeks after a federal judge in California ordered organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con to pay nearly $4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs to San Diego Comic Convention in a trademark infringement suit.

Tampa Bay Comic Con co-founder Stephen Solomon, a manager at Imaginarium, the company that has run Tampa Bay Comic Con and similarly-branded comic conventions around the U.S. since 2010, confirmed the name change Wednesday after re-branded images appeared on the convention’s social media. Solomon declined to comment on whether that ruling had anything to do with the Tampa Bay Comic Con name change.

He can decline to comment on that all he wants, but it's pretty plain what is going on here. Those putting on other comic conventions throughout the country have been keeping a watchful eye on the fight between SLCC and SDCC. With this enormous award of attorney's fees after such a paltry judgement, convention organizers are simply doing the math and realizing that even if they convince a jury that its infringement isn't willful in the future, they can still get slammed with attorney's fees. They also likely know that after the ruling on the injunction that prevents SLCC from using any variation of the "comic con" term, the SDCC is surely coming for them next. And, so, they unilaterally disarm.

It's at this point that I will insist again on pointing out how absurd every last bit of this is. To allow "comic con" to be a trademarkable term, but to admit that "comic convention" is not because of its descriptive nature, is so silly as to make one's head hurt. For millions of dollars to be exchanged because of the difference between those two terms, all on the pretense that the public is somehow confused as to whether the SDCC is in charge of all of these conventions, is crazy-pants. For the result of all of this to be tens or hundreds of other conventions proactively changing their generic names to slightly more generic names is downright infuriating.


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:59pm

    Con Game

    Spent the weekend at a great Game Con. A huge number of those cons such as GenCon, IndieCon, BudCon all make use of that without suing each other.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:38pm

    Seems to me there's an opportunity here. Let all the less-litigious graphic-novel-fan convenors come up with a new acronym, trademark it, and license it free to "anyone who agrees not to be a abhominably ligitious sleazeball."

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:49pm

      Just so much to work with...

      Several opportunities in fact, given SDCC convinced a judge that shortening 'convention' to 'con' belongs only to them. Really, legal thuggery paired with trying to monopolize a word with multiple connotations, one of them not so pleasant? The jokes practically write themselves.

      'When you think 'con', think SDCC.'

      'SDCC: For when you want a first-class con.'

      'Why settle for a lesser con where they might not know what they're doing when you can let the SDCC show you how a con-job really works.'

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:43pm

    The ruling on this is so absurd that the judge who made it ought to be disbarred and removed from the bench before he can fuck up more lives with absurdly wrong rulings.

    Even an elementary school student could explain just how absurd his ruling on this is.

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

    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:12pm

      Sadly, the Law is not written so elementary school students can understand it. Not even adults can. Not even adults working in law enforcement. (Sadly, these ones are not required to.)

      It might seems absurd. It probably is morally speaking. But lawyers can twist the words of the law to still make it the "legal truth".

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

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:00pm

    So.. How many signs are going to show up saying (City Name) Comic Convention but the "vention" part will be in significantly smaller font.

    Also... this isn't likely to change the behavior of the con goers, they are still going to call it Whatever Comic Con.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:15pm

    They should go with "cosmic con" ...because it's about more than "comics" anyway. (There are a bunch more variations to play with.) So comical.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:27pm

    Say that five times fast

    Comical Comic Con Law Convention Creates Consternation Concerning Comic Con Naming Conventions; Confounds Nation

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

  • identicon
    PhilB, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:42pm

    What about "comic conv" the v can be almost silent, or would that be considered a "variation"?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:27pm

    Does that mean that Gastroenterologists in San Diego won't be able to have their San Diego Constipation Convention (SDCC) any more?

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

  • icon
    Madd the Sane (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:39pm

    Since the "con" part is so important, I suggest we start calling San Diego Comic Convention "The Con" and shareholders/heads "conmen".

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

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:17pm

    Comic confvfe.

    Heavy on the con.

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:54pm

    San Diego ComicCon: Changing the meaning from Comic Convention to Comic Confidence trick.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 1:06am

    Because those in comic fandom would never take offense to 1 asshat & punish them.

    What if SD gave a ComicCon and no one came?
    Think all the studios would bother using an empty event has a place to launch teasers & exclusive content?

    Fandom's really need to stop thinking someone else will deal with the problems. If you find what SDCC did horrible, skip a year. Be loud about why you are skipping. I hear there is an awesome Comics Convention in Salt Lake & hey no california traffic & jacked up prices!

    This was a stupid fight, before a Judge of questionable intelligence, so 1 asshole could threaten events across the country people attend.

    Why would any of the fans accept some asshole deciding he owns a common phrase?
    Boycott SDCC, be loud that as long as it is run by an asshole who thinks ComicCon belongs only to him its gonna be a very empty space in SD.

    But then Nintendo has a history of abusing their fans who keep showing up asking to get screwed over once again.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      If you find what SDCC did horrible, skip a year.

      A year? Yeah, if I went to cons pretty sure this would put the SDCC on my 'never again' list, after all as you pointed out there's apparently a con just as good over in Salt Lake, and it isn't run by legal thugs.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:15am

    Convention goers, boycott the San Diego Comic-Con.

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

  • identicon
    WanderingSynapse, 11 Sep 2018 @ 1:31pm

    Why not something easier...

    Con-V-Com -

    BTW. I hold the rights to Con-V-Com, and freely allow anyone except-for San Diego Comic-Con, to use it. They can never use my new "phrase". If SDCC ever were to use it, it would cost them roughly 3.14 Trillion dollars.

    Really, everyone should just boycott the malignant fuckers that are SDCC.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 1:05am

    Comicase pronounced komi kazi

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


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