I f you were to ask a random person on the street what a "comic con" is, chances are that they'd describe pretty much any convention centered around comic books, cosplay, and general nerd culture.
Big name cons have sprung up in NYC, Dallas, and Toronto, but two of the largest in North America—San Diego and Salt Lake City—have been duking it out in court over the use of the term "Comic Con" (capital 'c').
Now, after almost a year in court, the two nerd-Meccas are finally moving to settle their dispute.
When people think of Cons, they usually envision what San Diego Comic Con has become in recent years. The annual convention began in 1970 back when it was called the Golden State Comic Book Convention. In the 45 years since then, the SDCC has become one of the epicenters for all things geeky, often hosting high-profile premieres for upcoming films, books, and series.
The Salt Lake Comic Con, which began in 2013, hasn't been around for nearly as long as SDCC, but it's quickly become one of the more visible Cons here in the States. For reference—earlier this month, an over-eager fan attempted to sneak into the SLCC's VIP lounge by impersonating a federal agent.
Even though the two Cons cater to completely different audiences (geographically speaking,) representatives from SDCC have long-held they they own the trademark rights to "Comic Con" and that Salt Lake is encroaching. Last year SDCC moved to file an official lawsuit against SLCC.
"As a result of the extensive and continuous use of the COMIC-CON marks in connection with the advertisement and promotion of its Comic-Con convention, consumers have come to recognize and identify the COMIC-CON marks as representative of the quality events and services provided by SDCC," the lawsuit reads. "The COMIC-CON marks have become valuable assets of SDCC as well as a symbol of SDCC’s goodwill and positive industry reputation."
Back when the suit was first filed, Bryan Brandenburg, one of the Salt Lake Comic Con's co-founders, insisted that their con wasn't doing anything that hundreds of other cons across the country weren't doing.
"A lot of comic cons start up every year, but we're the first to have the largest (first-time) comic con in North American history in little Salt Lake City," Brandenburg told KSL. "We got on their radar and we grew out of nowhere to become the third-largest comic con in our first year, so that really got a lot of attention."
After nearly a year in court, the two Cons appear to be nearing a settlement. California District Court Judge Jan Adler has scheduled a meeting between the two in late November to discuss the specifics of a possible solution to the dispute.
"The magistrate wants to follow up to see if we've made any progress," San Diego Comic Con's lawyer Peter Hahn said earlier this week. "I think resolving the litigation is in everyone's favor …but it's going to have to be on terms that are acceptable to San Diego."