Ka-pow! 9th Circuit Finds Social Media Gag Order Unconstitutional in COMIC CON Trademark Dispute

Author:Mr Andrew Levad and Jason W. Gordon
Profession:Reed Smith

In a previous post, we analyzed the battle over the trademark COMIC CON, which is owned by the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) but has been used by over 100 other comic book convention organizers. SDCC brought suit against one of these alleged infringers, Dan Farr Productions, in 2014, but failed to secure summary judgment earlier this year.

Dan Farr himself has been discussing the case on social media, to SDCC's ire. According to SDCC, Farr boasts of over 200,000 media articles reporting on the case and has tainted the jury pool in the Southern District of California. This sparked SDCC to seek a gag order preventing Farr from discussing the litigation on social media and requiring him to post a disclaimer on his social media pages. The district court granted SDCC's request, but the Ninth Circuit reversed it shortly thereafter on constitutional grounds. The Ninth Circuit held that because civil...

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