What’s in a Name: A discussion on the legalities of a commonly used term in Convention naming policies

(Update as of 04/26/16 – the judge has denied the Temporary Restraining Order by the Houston Board of Tourism concerning the “Space City” name or the Con’s occurrence over Memorial Weekend)


Recently, I found out that a favorite convention of mine, Space City Comic Con, is being sued for name infringement by the Houston Visitor’s Bureau. This is because the bureau has trademarked Space City for the purposes of tourism. The other kicker is that the Visitor’s Bureau has also decided to purchase a massive  50% of another convention, Comicpalooza, that they feel is in competition with Space City Comic Con.


The reason claimed for pursuing the lawsuit is fear that the congoer will confuse which con is sponsored by the Visitor’s bureau and go to the wrong one. But that is not how the visitor’s bureau is supposed to work. The visitor’s bureau is to work for the benefit of all Houston businesses, spurring trade and economic development. This purchase of 50% of a convention represents an unfair bias and a purposeful attempt by the visitor’s bureau to ruin additional trade and growth.

But what does this have to do with the con-goer? The con-goer is, according to the article, supposed to be confused about which con to go to. but are they that confused? No, the congoer isn’t that confused. One is always held at the George R Brown Convention Center. and one is held elsewhere, meaning the con-goer can’t be in the same place at the same time.

But why can the attendee not attend both? Why does one have to battle another? They don’t have to battle each other at all. Both of the conventions aim to take the cheaper and easier weekend of Memorial Day, but Houston is/should be a grownup and they have powers they simply refuse to utilize to let the littler guys win much needed spots. The Visitor’s bureau has the power to take those harder spots by applying bonuses and breaks to hotels that would allow Houston to hold Comicpalooza later in the convention season and extend it.

Most of the convention season runs from spring to summer. Memorial day is awfully early. Why not run Comicpalooza in mid summer July to August? This minimizes the two conventions battling for the same dollar as they have a chance to pad their wallets with some paychecks and spend it all at conventions and hotels each time, doubling the visitor’s bureau job success rather than minimizing it for only one convention and one hotel night stay. Plus the later the con, the more that the earlier cons appear as opening acts to the big con wrapping up the season and making the end of the con season a great time to be had by all.


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