The latest salvo in the ongoing litigation and public relations war between San Diego Comic Convention, the organizers of San Diego Comic-Con, and Dan Farr Productions, the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con, took place in a quick exchange on Thursday, as Dan Farr issued a press release lauding its new registration for the term Salt Lake Comic Con, and San Diego issued a response disputing Salt Lake’s characterization of the event.

The Dan Farr Productions announcement said that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "has granted Dan Farr Productions the trademark for the name Salt Lake Comic Con."  Dan Farr co-founder Bryan Brandenburg interpreted the event as a win for the Salt Lake organizers.  "By granting us a trademark for ‘Salt Lake Comic Con,’ the trademark office is literally declaring our right to not only use comic con in our name, but that we are distinguished in the marketplace," he said.  "It further declares that San Diego’s trademarked name is NOT ‘confusingly similar’ to our trademarked name, which is the nexus of the lawsuit."

San Diego organizers sharply disputed Dan Farr’s characterization and interpretation of the registration, pointing out that the registration was a Supplemental Trademark Registration which "does not provide all the protection of a registration on the Primary Register."

Attorney Peter Hahn further explained the non-profit organization’s position.  "The issuance of a Supplemental Registration has no effect on San Diego Comic Convention’s exclusive rights afforded by its Principle Register Registrations for various marks including the mark 'Comic-Con,'" he said.  "Contrary to Dan Farr Production’s statement, the Supplemental Registration will have no effect on the ongoing infringement litigation in San Diego."

One of the differences between a Supplemental Registration and a Principle Register trademark pointed out by San Diego is that the Supplemental Registration does not have an opposition process as a Principle Register trademark does prior to being granted, and can never become incontestable.  "As there is no opposition process for a Supplemental Registration we of course were not able oppose it, however we are engaging this matter as part of the normal course of protecting our already granted and incontestable trademarks."

According to the most recent order in case, from earlier this month, the parties are in the discovery process, in which each side has to produce documents, and sometimes testimony, relevant to the case.  Given the process outlined in the judge’s order, it appears that the discovery is elaborate and ongoing.

Efforts to reach a settlement through the court’s Early Neutral Evaluation process were unsuccessful (see "Comic-Con Trademark Litigation Continues").  San Diego sued Salt Lake Comic Con last August (see "San Diego Comic-Con Sues Salt Lake Comic Con"), and Salt Lake responded with a counter-suit in September (see "Salt Lake Asks Court to Cancel Comic-Con Trademark").