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Jury sides with San Diego Comic-Con in lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con

SAN DIEGO — A federal jury has ruled Salt Lake Comic Con organizers violated copyright law when they improperly used the words “comic con,” according to KSTU.

In a verdict handed down Friday afternoon, the jury sided with San Diego Comic-Con, which sued the Salt Lake event and its organizers, Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg. The jury found San Diego Comic-Con’s trademark is valid, and Salt Lake Comic Con used it without permission.

San Diego Comic-Con sought as much as $12 million in damages from Farr, Brandenburg and Salt Lake Comic Con. Instead, the jury awarded them only $20,000 finding no willful infringement of the copyright.

San Diego Comic-Con International sued in 2014, accusing the Salt Lake event of infringing on their copyrights to the words “comic con.” Salt Lake Comic Con insisted the term is generic, pointing to more than 100 other events held across the country that use the term.

The verdict could potentially impact other comic cons across the country. Representatives for San Diego Comic-Con did not immediately respond to a request for comment from KSTU.

It is expected that Salt Lake Comic Con will appeal the verdict to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California. Salt Lake Comic Con organizers have previously told KSTU the legal battle will not affect their ability to put on the next event, which draws more than 100,000 people to the Salt Palace.

Sharon Chen of FOX 13 sister station FOX 5 San Diego contributed to this report.