The New England Anime Society of Somerville, which puts on the annual Anime Boston show at the Hynes, this week sued two of its former volunteers, who are using the phrase "Boston Anime Fest" to promote their own show at the Hanover Mall, which is somewhere south of Boston.
In addition to trying to stop the organizers from associating themselves with the show that's actually in Boston, in a trademark lawsuit filed in US District Court, New England Anime has filed a request for a temporary restraining order to try to block the Hanover show, schedule for Dec. 8 and 9.
Although the main name of the Hanover show is the Boston SouthCoast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza, its Web site, with a URL of www.bostonanimefest.com, prominently features a Boston Anime Fest logo.
New England Anime says the branding is likely to confuse anime fans into thinking it has something to do with the Hanover show, which it does not. That the new show's organizers, Fantastic Gatherings, Inc. - founded by the two former Anime Boston volunteers - and Interactive Meet and Greet Entertainment, initially linked their social-media accounts to Boston Anime, is also an issue.
The defendants have yet to respond to the suit and restraining-order request. However, in its complaint, New England Anime claims somebody purporting to represent the two basically responded tough noogies because both "Boston" and "Anime" are generic terms that anybody can use.
Because the design of your event can also be considered "generic," and although you may feel that ours may appear to be similar, this does not give you legal ability to impede ours, or other businesses, in an attempt to create an unfair monopoly by the use of the generic terms to restrict competition.
New England Anime is asking a judge to order the Hanover show to knock it off, hand over the URL and pay damages to be determined at trial.