A deal could still be reached before the trial, but Thursday's development represents a significant shift in the parties' talks, particularly in light of the recent positive statements from Salt Lake Comic Con co-founders.
At the kickoff news conference for last January's FanX, Comic Con's sister event, Brandenburg said they were moving toward a settlement and hoped to "create a bit of a bromance" with San Diego Comic-Con.
Technically, San Diego has the hyphenated version of "Comic-Con" trademarked, but not "comic con." However, its legal team argued in a cease-and-desist letter to Salt Lake that the similarity of "Comic Con" in another event's name, without the hyphen, has confused people into thinking the event is somehow associated with San Diego's convention.
As Salt Lake's organizers see it, this legal battle isn't just between them and the flagship convention; it's a threat to the dozens of other comic book conventions around the world that also use the "comic con" name. Brandenburg previously asserted that if San Diego wins this case, it has a precedent to do this to others.