Bryan Brandenburg Apologises to San Diego Comic-Con for Driving the Salt Lake Comic Con Car Around the City

Bryan Brandenburg , co-owner/organiser of the Salt Lake Comic Con (still named) woke up after losing the trademark battle for "Comic Con" to San Diego Comic-Con, after a million dollar legal fight. He posted:

I woke up this morning facing a bright new future. The weight of the world has been lifted from Dan's and my shoulders. We have successfully cleared our names and lifted the cloud of accusation that has been surrounding us for 3 1/2 years.

I mean… they did lose. But let's see where he goes with this. after all, he was condemned by the judge at the trial for outrageous behaviour, so, grab the popcorn.

– We were accused of stealing and hijacking. The jury said we were NOT GUILTY of this. There was no willful infringement.

– We were accused of trying to associate our convention with the San Diego convention. The jury said that we were NOT GUILTY of this. They found no evidence of false designation of origin.

– We were accused of causing $12,000,000 damage to the SDCC brand. The jury found no evidence of damage. They awarded San Diego $20,000 in damages, less than .2% of what they asked for sending a clear message that we didn't hurt the San Diego brand.

Remember that thing about the statutory damages, though…

– We were accused of infringing San Diego's trademarks, along with 140 other "infringers"…other conventions that call themselves "comic con". The jury said that we were guilty. San Diego said, "They're all infringers, that we and 140 other conventions that use the term comic con were guilty." So for now the have 3 valid trademarks. We think that they will still lose "comic-con". We're proud to be lumped in with some of the finest comic cons in the country.

If those other comic cons jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? Remember, others so challenged changed their name or took a license…

Dan and I have no regrets about standing up for ourselves when we took action after receiving a cease and desist. In hindsight, we would not have taken the car down to San Diego. For that we apologize to San Diego Comic Con. They are a great event with great people.

Bryan Brandenburg Apologises to San Diego Comic-Con for Driving the Salt Lake Comic Con Car Around the City

That was the car they drove around San Diego during San Diego Comic-Con to advertise Salt Lake Comic Con, and had a hotel call San Diego Comic-Con to complain about it…

This process helped me realize once again that we truly have the best fans in the world. You have been there for us and it was comforting to have so many pulling for us. We are glad that we were able to clear our names at a minimum. But there are a lot of things moving in the background which I cannot talk about. All good things.

Good things are good things. Not outrageous at all.

We own the trademark for FanX. There are over 140 comic cons and one FanX. That's not a booby prize. If we needed to drop comic con from the name and just be FanX we have a trademark for that and a lot of positive brand awareness. Almost all the hundreds of thousands of people that have attended our events are familiar with that brand and name.

Absolutely, 100%. Couldn't they have done that in the first place and saved a million dollars? He then went on to thank everyone, which was nice.

We previously covered how the organisers of the Salt Lake Comic Con were planning to cover the legal costs of the David vs. Goliath fight, estimated at over a million dollars, by running a crowdfunding appeal. And they certainly have strong support from their fans, as their Facebook page attests.

But might they have other funds available to them? During the trial, it emerged that at the same time they were rallying the troops for such a crowdfunding to help the little guy beat the big guy, Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg had a little personal bonus. Okay, maybe less of the little. Forbes reports:

It was disclosed in court proceedings that the two organizers voted themselves bonuses of $225,000 each as they were mounting a crowdfunding campaign to get fans to pony up for their legal defense. However, the comment threads on SLCC's posted content indicated that the tactics were effective in mobilizing fan anger.

Which seems to have surprised some. Maybe they might help towards the legal costs themselves? Or those possible "statutory damages"?

So maybe that might come in useful at a later date…

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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