As previously announced, New England Anime Society, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the United States federal court against Interactive Meet and Greet Entertainment, LLC and Fantastic Gatherings, Inc. The basis of this lawsuit is that IMAGE and FG had changed the name of their event to "Boston Anime Fest," which NEAS believed was confusingly close to and infringed on NEAS's own registered trademark, "Anime Boston."
On Thursday, December 7th, United States District Judge Sorokin granted NEAS's motion for a preliminary injunction. The injunction requires IMAGE and FG to change their use of “Boston AnimeFest” in all of their print, digital and online promotional materials so that “Boston” does not appear in such close proximity to “AnimeFest” or “Anime” so as to be confusingly similar to NEAS's mark. IMAGE and FG have until the start of their event on Saturday, December 9, 2017 to comply with this court-ordered injunction.
While we appreciate that some are critical of NEAS’s decision to bring this matter to court, NEAS is committed to defending its "Anime Boston" trademark. The law requires that we police and defend against infringement, because failing to do so could mean we lose ownership of it. That might allow others to use the "Anime Boston" name without our consent, and would result in people being confused.
It was not NEAS's wish to bring this matter to court. Through counsel, we reached out to IMAGE and FG twice asking that they change their mark to something not so similar to ours. We warned IMAGE and FG that, in the absence of an agreement to change their mark, we might have no choice but to file a claim in court. Both times they rejected our requests.
NEAS worked in good faith, at Judge Sorokin’s request, to come to a mutual agreement with IMAGE and FG. Although FG’s representative agreed to terms we proposed, IMAGE's owner ultimately did not. When an agreement was not possible, Judge Sorokin granted our injunction request Thursday afternoon. While the court records are publicly available through the PACER system, for easier access we have provided a zip file of the Signed Injunction order, the Emergency Motion for Injunction, and Exhibits 1-5 here: http://bit.ly/2BYCBay.
Legal requirements aside, there is a practical need to maintain our brand's distinctiveness. NEAS and its volunteer staff have dedicated over 16 years to building Anime Boston and making it into a first class event. The public, our partners, our community, and all of those involved in the industry associate “Anime Boston” with NEAS, our event, and our services. We value that goodwill and the positive working relationships that come with it. We do not want the reputation and good name we have established to be confused with another company. We also do not want to be confused with another company, its services, or its reputation, good or bad. This is an industry grounded in creative works we all love and celebrate. NEAS has immense respect for the rights of others in their creative works and intellectual property. We expect the same respect for ours.
At this point we look forward to IMAGE and FG's full compliance with the conditions set forth in the court-ordered injunction.