Trademark News & Screw-ups Jurors deliberating whether Salt Lake Comic Con name violates trademark

So the jury found that San Diego group's trademark is valid (i.e. it should not be cancelled for non-distinctiveness as part of the court proceedings) and that Salt Lake Comic Con used it without permission (i.e. unlawfully). However, the monetary award to be paid out to the trademark owner is nowhere near their original ask. Instead of $12 million, the jury only awarded $20,000. Meanwhile, Salt Lake City group has launched a petition with USPTO to cancel San Diego's trademark. Despite only having to pay a tiny fraction compared to what the original claim demanded, Salt Lake City group plans to appeal the decision. To be fair, it's a weird case that should have never gone to trial. When you have a brand that's borderline generic, the last thing you want to do is end up losing it after you've spent tens and maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers. What San Diego Group should have done is register Comic Con as a CERTIFICATION mark, which is a special type of trademark that is used to show consumers that particular services, or their providers, have met certain standards. And then it would license the name to comic conventions around the country that meet those criteria. This way, enforcing their rights would have been a lot easier. Plus it wouldn't have created all the negative buzz around the dispute over the name that is, in fairness, not distinctive at all.

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