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Bob Marley Bootleggers Busted
Highest Court D. Nevada
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Fifty-Six Hope Road Music
Zion Rootswear
Defendants Clothing Manufacturer(s)
Individual(s)
Music Merchandiser(s)
Other Marley, Bob
Short Description Bob Marley's children and the company they licensed to sell items bearing his image sued a company, Avela, that restored and sold artwork and other images. Marley's licensee, Zion, dealt with Avela at a trade show in 2005. The parties disagreed whether Avela had some images of Marley in their demonstration materials at that time. Another defendant sided with the plaintiffs in saying Avela did not. After the show, the parties did not reach a licensing deal. Avela claimed that the images in the book came from a photographer, Rabanne, who had been given licensing for the photos by Marley himself. The photographer denied given Avela these photos at the time and refused to backdate a contract for Avela; he also denied having Marley's permission to use the photos. After one abortive lawsuit in 2007, the plaintiffs learned Avela had licensed the images for clothes sold in Target and other retailers during 2008. The clothes usually had images or phrases like "One Love" on them. Avela noted that the retailers were the ones who would advertise the clothes as featuring Bob Marley - the clothes never said the name. The plaintiffs used an expert whose studies indicated a likelihood that consumers could be confused as to whether Marley's successors licensed the shirt. The plaintiffs were granted a restraining order and injunction on their copyright infringement suit. The defendants claimed to be careful never to use the words "Bob Marley" and that the plaintiff's have no trademark in Marley's image or particular photograph. They also denied the Nevada state publicity claim because Marley's people did not register the trademark timely. The Court first considered the trademark claim to the name "Bob Marley." The Court rejected the plaintiff's assertion that their trademark extends to every image ever shot of Marley. That argument would make the person a trademark, which is untenable. The exception would be if one particular image was used specifically, but Marley's own businesses used hundreds of different photos. Essentially, the name Marley and the image are different. The court then turned to the Nevada claim. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs waited too long to register a claim under Nevada state law, and the plaintiffs responded that the timing was not an issue because the violations were on-going. The Court found that a successor-in-interest can register a mark but that violations outside of Nevada do not trigger the clock. The Court rejected an argument that the estates of people predeceasing the statute are forbidden its protections. - JMC

Legal Issues
Torts Economic Torts Interference with Contract, Business, Interests & Expectancy
Trademarks & Unfair Competition Federal (Lanham Act) Trademark Infringement
    Unfair Competition, False Advertising & Related Torts
  State Statute/Common Law Registration & Cancellation
    Right of Publicity
    Trademark Infringement


Opinions Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.
688 F.Supp.2d 1148
D. Nevada , February 25, 2010 ( No. 2:08-CV-00105-PMP-GWF )


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Related Searches Parties
Clothing Manufacturer(s) ( Defendant )
Fifty-Six Hope Road Music ( Plaintiff )
Individual(s) ( Defendant )
Marley, Bob ( Other )
Music Merchandiser(s) ( Defendant )
Zion Rootswear ( Plaintiff )

Legal Issues
Torts / Economic Torts / Interference with Contract, Business, Interests & Expectancy
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / Federal (Lanham Act) / Trademark Infringement
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / Federal (Lanham Act) / Unfair Competition, False Advertising & Related Torts
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Registration & Cancellation
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Right of Publicity
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Trademark Infringement

Courts
D. Nevada (highest court)


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