Funimation Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Anime Haus Owner

posted on 2014-03-19 12:10 EDT by Lynzee Loveridge
Funimation is seeking US$500,000 for counterfeit merch sales

Funimation filed a civil lawsuit against Washington-based Anime Haus, its owner Brian Hilgeford, and three unnamed individuals for copyright infringment in Texas on Thursday. Funimation claims the individuals imported and distributed toys, apparel, plush toys, messenger bags, mouse pads, watches, key chains and other merchandise infringing on Funimation's exclusive copyrights including the One Piece, Hetalia: Axis Powers, Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Fairy Tail series since 2010.

According to the lawsuit, Funimation became aware of Anime Haus selling unauthorized One Piece mousepads at Anime Expo and saw a blog post regarding the company's booth at Sakura-Con in Seattle. According to the blog, Anime Haus attempted to have its entry removed from the website's "Black List" because it no longer intended to sell counterfeit merchandise. The lawsuit also states that Hilgeford's booth was removed from Denver's Animeland Wasabi convention due to complaints regarding counterfeit merchandise.

Funimation claims to have contacted Anime Haus regarding its merchandise but was ignored. The company's website is functional and taking orders.

Funimation is asking for a jury trial and seeking US$500,000 for the infringements, payment of attorney and filing fees, and confiscation of infringing merchandise.

The first hearing with Judge Keith P. Ellison of the Southern District of Texas Houston Division court is scheduled for July 11.

Phone calls and e-mails sent to Hilgeford by Anime News Network were not immediately returned.

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