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Secret Boston battle out in the open in court case

,em>Update: Case settled./em>

Secret Boston, LLC, which has long organized and promoted events in Boston, today sued some New York concern, accusing it of trying to muscle in on their act by using the name Secret Boston.

The issue came to the fore earlier this year when both Secret Boston, LLC and Fever Labs, Inc. of New York, also calling its local Web site Secret Boston, both began promoting two separate "immersive" Van Gogh exhibits this fall, confusing would be ticket purchasers to no end and sparking a Better Business Bureau article.

In its trademark suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, the original Secret Boston says it's been operating under that name since 2010 and that it's built up considerable equity in the trademark, as evidenced by its 93,000 followers on Facebook, 60,000 followers on Instagram and 140,000 subscribers to its e-mail newsletter, not to mention coverage in such media outlets as the Globe. The local company says it also has some 2,000 local "ambassadors" who help promote events on social media.

Based on Secret Boston’s popular social media accounts and thriving email list, Secret Boston has a robust following of individuals, both within and outside of Massachusetts, who are familiar with, and readily associate, the Mark with Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s Services.

The suit says Fever only got into the "Secret" event promotion business in 2016, with a series of "Secret" Web sites in various cities, but not Boston, at least not until last June, when it launched a Boston site.

The local Secret Boston says the out-of-state Secret Boston would have known about the homegrown site in part because it quickly shows up in Google searches and in part because:

Defendant’s CEO and founder, Ignacio Bachiller, was exposed to Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s Mark, and Plaintiff’s Services while living in the Greater Boston area during the four years he attended the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 2010 to 2014, a period during which Plaintiff Secret Boston was already actively promoting its services under the SECRET BOSTON Mark in Massachusetts, including to MIT students.

The locals say they've gotten numerous phone calls and e-mail messages from people upset at signing up for what they thought was the locally promoted show, rather than the New York one - which, initially did not have a specific Boston location for where it would take place. They cite several examples, including:

“I would like to know by tomorrow, March 4 where it will be held or I will contact my credit card company to arrange to cancel the tickets. And, before you remind me that the tickets are non-refundable, I’m not sure that will be true if your program has been misrepresented. I would appreciate your prompt attention to my request.”- from an Earthlink.net account on March 3, 2021.

The locals continue:

Defendant’s use of the Infringing Mark has tarnished Plaintiff’s reputation because Defendant’s Services have been provided negligently and have caused numerous problems and consumer complaints, including to the Better Business Bureau.

In its complaint, Secret Boston, LLC asks a judge to Fever to knock it off and stop calling its Boston site "Secret Boston," destroy any promotional material labeled "Secret Boston" and hand over the secretboston.com domain and related social-media accounts to Secret Boston, LLC, The complaint also requests the judge declare Fever violated Secret Boston's trademark and that it has to pay triple damages, the exact amount to be determined at trial.

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Comments

Looks like a case of Covid Hangover and Boston's world class nightlife movers and shakers ready to bring back the filled dancefloors of the 80s and early 90s. FUGGEDDABOUDIT. Sad. No place to dance in a sea of fun down to earth people.

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Voting closed 10

And a pretty clear-cut one.

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Voting closed 33

Here’s a not so secret Magoo would like to let out. Magoo is going to take a hiatus for a bit. Magoo wants to enjoy the summer without the burden and privilege of coming up with Magoo’s witty wittisisms. Perhaps Magoo will be back in the fall. Magoo.

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Voting closed 16

Please don't.

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Agreed.

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Voting closed 24

forces anyone to read Magoo's comments. (Hint: They are always prefaced with "Magoo sez" so they are easy to identify.

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We look forward to your triumphant return in the fall.

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Voting closed 13

Did they finally announce a location? Where is it?

I never buy tickets to events that don't advertise where they will be located.

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Voting closed 8

I mean, I don't doubt in this instance that the lack of transparency is because they're being sketchy and/or faking being an "elite" outing, but the lack of specific location until tickets are purchased is really common for events centered around Black, trans, disabled, etc. communities that don't want trolls showing up. I've bought many tickets to events that don't disclose where exactly they're held, including professional conferences.

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Voting closed 10

then I don't know how far away it is from me, nor whether it is easily reached by public transportation or by bicycle. I'm not going to buy a ticket to an "unknown location" event only to find out that it's in Foxboro or Sudbury.

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Voting closed 8

I don't know of many places that don't say what community they're in, other than a few retreats and some youth summer camps that give a large geographic area (and it's presumed most everyone would need to get a ride there since these things are usually in the middle of nowhere and people would be bringing a lot of stuff). Usually it says what neighborhood but no address or clue as to type of facility.

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Voting closed 7

but all the ones I've been to have advertised whether it was accessible via T or if you needed other transportation.

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Location: A central location in Boston (venue to be announced soon)

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