News Knights of the Zodiac/Saint Seiya's U.S. Lawsuit Dismissed
posted on 2012-03-19 11:47 EDT by Jennifer Sherman
The Japanese studio Toei Animation announced on Friday that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed the lawsuit against Toei's American subsidiary over rights related to the Knights of the Zodiac (Saint Seiya in Japanese) anime series last Tuesday. The plaintiff, Isaac A. Potter, Jr., served as his own lawyer when he filed the suit in the district court on December 9, 2010 and named Toei Animation Incorporated (TAI) and the United States of America as defendants. Potter claimed TAI's Knights of the Zodiac infringed on his copyrights and trademarks.
The court ruled that there were insufficient records to support the plaintiff's allegations. Potter was seeking an injunction against TAI, US$1 billion in punitive damages, and additional statutory damages. If the plaintiff contests the ruling, Toei Animation noted that it plans to continue to consult with lawyers and protest the appeal.
The plaintiff and his brother Samuel J. Potter, under the name Potter Boys' Creations, obtained copyright protection for a drawing entitled "Zodiac Knights 2000" on October 10, 1995. They then filed a U.S. trademark for "Zodiac Knights 2000 ZK" for clothing, games, advertising, and other services on February 24, 1997, although the status of this trademark has been "abandoned" and "dead" since April 9, 1998. They also filed the trademark "Zodiac Knights 2000" separately in Indiana on March 1, 2004, and the status of that registration is "live."
The Potters had filed an earlier lawsuit in Georgia's Fulton County (later moved to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division) against the Cartoon Network on July 18, 2006. The Cartoon Network filed two motions to dismiss the suit in 2006, and both motions were denied. The court had concluded that the Potters had not abandoned their trademark due to their separate registration filing in Indiana.