The organizer of Salt Lake Comic Con has filed motions in its litigation with the non-profit that runs San Diego Comic-Con alleging that San Diego’s trademarks, granted in 2005, were obtained by fraud.  The motions were part of a flurry of activity in the case, which began almost three years ago when San Diego Comic Convention, which operates San Diego Comic-Con, filed suit against Dan Farr Productions, the organizer of Salt Lake Comic Con, alleging infringement on Comic-Con’s marks (see "San Diego Comic-Con Sues Salt Lake Comic Con").

Over the past week, in addition to the Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Dan Farr Productions, San Diego Comic Convention has also filed Motions for Summary Judgment.

The dispute is also playing out on two other fronts.  One is at the Patent and Trademark Office, where Dan Farr Productions says it has petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board to cancel San Diego Comic Convention’s registration based on the fraud allegation.  This isn’t the first action on that front.  In 2015, Dan Farr Productions received a Supplemental Trademark Registration for Salt Lake Comic Con, which San Diego organizers quickly argued had no effect on the litigation (see "Salt Lake Comic Con Gets ‘Supplemental’ Trademark – San Diego Says 'So What'’").

The other front is in the court of public opinion, where Dan Farr Productions has actively engaged in a public relations campaign since the very beginning of the litigation.  In its most recent announcement, it said that over 200,000 media articles had reported on the case, with "the majority… overwhelmingly favorable to Salt Lake Comic Con’s case."  If true, it wouldn’t be surprising, since the company’s press releases have undoubtedly been the source of many of the articles.  But whether that’s affected the enormous good will toward the non-profit organization that produces the most important show of them all is questionable, and could even backfire.

Whatever the outcome, a case of this scale and length has undoubtedly been expensive for both parties.  Dan Farr Productions said in its recent announcement that its legal fees are "almost $1 million."  Legal fees of that size can make resolution of the case by settlement more difficult, since both sides have spent considerable amounts of money that they would have a chance of recouping if they win at trial.  And the case started with bad blood over the Salt Lake convention organizers’ activities around San Diego Comic-Con in 2014; it’s unlikely that the latest allegations in the case are going to cool tempers.

Discovery has now been ongoing for over a year and should be drawing to a close, which means a trial date will likely soon be set.  Numerous fan convention organizers, which include large, well-funded players that have come into the business over the past decade as it’s grown, will be closely watching the outcome.