“Two companies representing rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix’s estate sued his brother on March 16, in a long-running dispute over the use of trademarks and copyrights in Hendrix-themed products such as “Jimi’s Cannabis Collection Purple Haze” and “Jimi’s Wines.””
Trust Advisor’s article, “Hendrix Estate Sues Singer’s Brother Again Over Trademarks,” says that Washington state-based Experience Hendrix LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC filed the complaint against Leon Hendrix; his business partner, Andrew Pitsicalis; and their company, Purple Haze Properties in federal court in New York.
There have been other similar suits that the rock star’s estate has filed against the musician’s brother during the last decade. Both companies hold the rights to intellectual property that belonged to Hendrix. Jimi’s father, who died in 2002, bequeathed the ownership of the Hendrix estate—including the two companies—to family members. However, he excluded Leon Hendrix.
The defendants recently “renewed and expanded” their infringement claim of Hendrix’s trademarks and copyrights “through the creation, development, licensing, manufacturing, promotion, advertising and sale of cannabis, edibles, food, wine, alcohol, ‘medicines,’ electronic products, and other goods.”
An attorney representing Leon Hendrix, Pitsicalis and Purple Haze said the companies brought “this frivolous suit now, only to further tarnish and interfere with Jimi’s brother Leon’s lawful and proper business that rightfully respects Jimi Hendrix’s legacy.”
The two companies said in their complaint that they hold the rights to Hendrix’s trademarks, including “Jimi Hendrix” and his signature, as well as copyrights on his popular composition “Purple Haze” and album “Axis: Bold As Love.”
Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix petitioned the court to enjoin the defendants from using the Hendrix estate’s trademarks and copyrights in products for sale and sought damages for their own alleged wrongful gains. The defendants had previously filed trademark applications, such as those through an entity called Jimi Electronics Inc., to trademark “Jimi” and “Jimi Jams” for audio speaker products. The Patent and Trademark Office denied the applications. The PTO held that these claims would create a likelihood of confusion with the Hendrix estate’s registered marks.
The two companies have previously filed infringement suits against Leon Hendrix, Pitsicalis and companies with which they were associated. In 2008, a federal court in Washington found that Leon Hendrix and his business partners wrongfully marketed and sold vodka and other merchandise using Hendrix’s signature and headshot marks, after an infringement complaint was filed by the two companies.
Reference: Trust Advisor (April 3, 2017) “Hendrix Estate Sues Singer’s Brother Again Over Trademarks”