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Settlement talks have resumed between Salt Lake Comic Con and San Diego Comic-Con, in a trademark infringement dispute which had seemed destined for a federal trial.
San Diego sued Salt Lake in the U.S. District Court of Southern California in 2014, alleging the younger, smaller convention's name is too similar. Salt Lake has refuted this. After an attempt to settle the case failed earlier this year, the two were on track for a showdown in federal court.
But when attorneys for the two conventions met again on Monday, "we felt that everybody was still trying to work toward settlement in good faith," said C.J. Veverka, an attorney for Salt Lake. The case is still proceeding, but the talks are going on in parallel with that, he added.
Magistrate Judge Jan M. Adler has ordered the two conventions to meet on Nov. 23 for a formal settlement conference.
"Having a judge present during your settlement negotiations can often times be good medicine to help you reach [a deal]," Veverka said.
Even if a settlement isn't reached by the meeting, the door is still open for one later, Veverka added.
"We're optimistic to settle this year," Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said.
Adler's order does not affect the schedule laid out for the case, which, at the earliest, slots the trial for sometime late next year.
This is not the first time a settlement has seemed within reach. The conventions were reportedly near a deal earlier this year, with Brandenburg saying last January that they hoped to start a "bromance" with San Diego. But talks broke down in July; Brandenburg said they were unwilling to give San Diego what it wanted.
San Diego has demanded that Salt Lake change its name and suggested it adopt the name of its sister event, FanX, for both conventions.