Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

“Excuse me while I kiss this guy”

Originally posted 2009-07-09 12:21:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Michael Atkins, that is.  Well, that’s what Hendrix always sounded to me to be saying in “Purple Haze” [corrected! -- RDC]. Anyway, Mike continues his dogged coverage of all things Hendrix-trademarky, and here’s the latest of it:

Defendants’ use of HENDRIX and JIMI HENDRIX was fair use of plaintiffs’ trademarks to describe the images depicted on their products, the Western District preliminarily found on July 2. However, the court also found defendants’ domain names containing those marks, a guitar and “headshot/bust” logo, and Jimi Hendrix’s signature infringe plaintiffs’ trademarks and enjoined further use pending trial.

The signature was a trademark?  It had secondary meaning?  I think maybe John Hancock’s signature has secondary meaning, but I can’t think of too many other ones, though I am sure there are.  But Hendrix’s? Here’s the reasoning, per Mike’s excerpt from the opinion:

During oral argument, counsel for defendants indicated that defendants are now confining their use of the signature to posters, fine art prints, and apparel.  The Court interprets counsel’s remark as a concession that defendants’ use of Jimi Hendrix’s signature constitutes branding, and it is not exempted from infringement liability by either the nominative or the classic fair use doctrine.

“Branding” — “infringement” — “liabilty” — “fair use” — all very interesting concepts.

But they only apply to trademarks, Your Honor!   How you got a trademark here?

Ah, well, what if the other side has actually registered a trademark in Jimi’s signature?  Yep.  Here are the two Jimi Hancox side by side — plaintiff’s registered one on the left, defendants’ on the right:

Jimi Hancox

Ah!  Yeah, kind of close, but that’s not really the point.  Thus, wrote the court (at page 13),

[E]ven if the distinctions [between the two specimens that] defendants identify were nontrivial, the nature of plaintiffs’ mark, as connoting the signature of a particular, now deceased, person, does not leave much room for a different version of the same person’s signature to be associated with another company. The underlying assumption of a signature is that it remains somewhat constant over time and that it is unique to the individual, similar to a fingerprint.

Well, that is assuming a lot about what a signature’s “underlying assumption” is, for I imagine that there was no testimony by the signature.  But a trademark registration at least provides a presumption; in this case, one of secondary meaning.  And, given the above, that gets you a presumption of a LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION.  As the court describes it, this flamboyant scribble is no different from any other graphical trademark and is entitled to the same level of protection.

It was presumptuous of me ever to think the Western District of Washington ever thought otherwise.

Drink to me only with thine eyes

Originally posted 2007-03-27 14:42:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A week or so ago it was the sad story of Jimi Hendrix on the bottle. Now the TTABlog reports on another famous-dead-guy-as-booze-trademark case:

Applicant Anatoliy Bondarchuk failed to fend off a petition for cancellation of his registration of the mark MARC CHAGALL for vodka. The Board not surprisingly found that the mark creates a false suggestion of a connection with the painter Marc Chagall, in violation of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, and it therefore sustained the petition.

The irony is that Chagall’s paintings always struck me as the kind of thing you would, indeed, find at the bottom of a bottle of vodka.  Animals and people getting just a l-i-i-i-ittle too close… fowl showing up in the most inappropriate places … lots of questionable aloofness — flying around in the air, that is.

I always thought these paintings looked as if Chagall had stayed for one l’chaim too many. Or that he had a very odd family, indeed. Maybe so — but it’s not for Anatoliy Bondarchuk to profit from it, and so too says the TTAB.

There must be some kind of way out of here

Originally posted 2008-07-09 00:51:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

But mediation isn’t it — in the Jimi Hendrix vodka case, that is, which Mike Atkins has been all over since last year, as we reported back then.

Hendrix Guitar on Fire

Hendrix, in hell

No settlement, says Mike now; back on a litigation track. The hour’s getting late!

UPDATE:  From Mike Atkins:

The maker of HENDRIX ELECTRIC vodka infringes three JIMI HENDRIX trademarks owned by the licensing company that controls the late musician’s marks.

That’s what Western District Judge Thomas Zilly found in his August 7 order on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in Experience Hendrix, LLC v. Electric Hendrix, LLC. STL’s post on the parties’ oral argument here.

Best of 2011: Dubious assignations

First published on March 8, 2011.

 

Steve Baird generously linked back to this LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® post writing about the trademark status of some singer’s signature at the superb, now-two-years old Duets Blog.  His novel question:

Do you suppose TS fans have an expectation that the Taylor Swift signature trademark represents her actual, personal signature? If so, would their decision to purchase goods be affected if the signature was actually penned by another? Probably not, but if so, would that subject the trademark registration to cancellation on deceptiveness grounds? Or, on the other hand, do fans assume and expect the trademark signature to be part of the artist’s professional handling, more like they would view assistance from a make-up artist, hair stylist, and/or airbrushing expert?

Well, been there, done that!  Remember this one, Steve?  (It’s older than two).  This issue was some guitar player’s signature:

“Branding” — “infringement” — “liabilty” — “fair use” — all very interesting concepts.

But they only apply to trademarks, Your Honor!   How you got a trademark here?

Ah, well, what if the other side has actually registered a trademark in Jimi’s signature?  Yep.  Here are the two Jimi Hancox side by side — plaintiff’s registered one on the left, defendants’ on the right:

Jimi Hancox

Ah!  Yeah, kind of close, but that’s not really the point.  Thus, wrote the court (at page 13),

[E]ven if the distinctions [between the two specimens that] defendants identify were nontrivial, the nature of plaintiffs’ mark, as connoting the signature of a particular, now deceased, person, does not leave much room for a different version of the same person’s signature to be associated with another company. The underlying assumption of a signature is that it remains somewhat constant over time and that it is unique to the individual, similar to a fingerprint.

Well, that is assuming a lot about what a signature’s “underlying assumption” is, for I imagine that there was no testimony by the signature.  But a trademark registration at least provides a presumption; in this case, one of secondary meaning.  And, given the above, that gets you a presumption of a LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION.

Confused?  Me too.  And we’re not alone — I’m starting a petition!  Sign right here.

Dubious assignations

Steve Baird generously linked back to this LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® post writing about the trademark status of some singer’s signature at the superb, now-two-years old Duets Blog.  His novel question:

Do you suppose TS fans have an expectation that the Taylor Swift signature trademark represents her actual, personal signature? If so, would their decision to purchase goods be affected if the signature was actually penned by another? Probably not, but if so, would that subject the trademark registration to cancellation on deceptiveness grounds? Or, on the other hand, do fans assume and expect the trademark signature to be part of the artist’s professional handling, more like they would view assistance from a make-up artist, hair stylist, and/or airbrushing expert?

Well, been there, done that!  Remember this one, Steve?  (It’s older than two).  This issue was some guitar player’s signature:

“Branding” — “infringement” — “liabilty” — “fair use” — all very interesting concepts.

But they only apply to trademarks, Your Honor!   How you got a trademark here?

Ah, well, what if the other side has actually registered a trademark in Jimi’s signature?  Yep.  Here are the two Jimi Hancox side by side — plaintiff’s registered one on the left, defendants’ on the right:

Jimi Hancox

Ah!  Yeah, kind of close, but that’s not really the point.  Thus, wrote the court (at page 13),

[E]ven if the distinctions [between the two specimens that] defendants identify were nontrivial, the nature of plaintiffs’ mark, as connoting the signature of a particular, now deceased, person, does not leave much room for a different version of the same person’s signature to be associated with another company. The underlying assumption of a signature is that it remains somewhat constant over time and that it is unique to the individual, similar to a fingerprint.

Well, that is assuming a lot about what a signature’s “underlying assumption” is, for I imagine that there was no testimony by the signature.  But a trademark registration at least provides a presumption; in this case, one of secondary meaning.  And, given the above, that gets you a presumption of a LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION.

Confused?  Me too.  And we’re not alone — I’m starting a petition!  Sign right here.

Bad “Experience”

Michael Atkins reports (I added a link):

Owners of the Jimi Hendrix family of trademarks have sued over use of the deceased musician’s name in connection with the marketing of vodka. Experience Hendrix, LLC, and Authentic Hendrix, LLC, filed suit yesterday in the Western District against Washington-based Electric Hendrix, LLC, [which was allegedly] formed … in 2005 for the purpose of selling, bottling and marketing vodka as HENDRIX ELECTRIC, JIMI HENDRIX ELECTRIC, or JIMI HENDRIX ELECTRIC VODKA. . . .

The Seattle Times reports the Hendrix family especially objects to the use of Mr. Hendrix’s name to sell vodka.

“In view of the circumstances of my brother Jimi’s death, this attempt to associate his name with the sale of alcohol beverages amounts to a sick joke” stepsister Janie Hendrix said in a statement released yesterday.

There is too much confusion… Jimi will get some relief.

UPDATE: Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.