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Comic-Con, Generic Term?

Written by Thomas Mould on 05 August 2015

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A year ago, San Diego Comic-Con sued Don Farr Productions, organisers of the Salt Lake City Comic Con, for trade mark infringement. A classic case of a trade mark that had moved into a generic status, “comic-con".

There are comic cons everywhere. Because of this, Salt Lake City Comic Con applied for its own trade mark. The USPTO granted them the trade mark.

This led a number of other comic conventions that use the name “comic con” to apply to the USPTO to register their trade marks.

This week, Boston Comic Con applied to register the trade mark the name for “Organising 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.” 

Rhode Island Comic Con and Kansas Comic Con, similarly have also launched trade mark bids in the past month.

They can expect an opposition from Comic-Con International, the organisers of San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon, who own the trade marks on San Diego Comic-Con, Anaheim Comic-Con, San Francisco Comic-Con and Los Angeles Comic-Con.

The legal team of Comic Con International can expect an increase in work in the coming months but the term “Comic Con” has become generic of conventions based on comics, superheroes and fan fiction, it is simply a matter of time before their trade mark is invalidated.

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