IP Law News

Bob Marley Trademark Suit Yields $2.4 Million Award

Jan. 10, 2019, 3:31 PM

Hope Road Merchandising LLC and Fifty-Six Hope Road Music LLC, which hold trademarks and copyrights related to singer Bob Marley, successfully defended their intellectual property rights in two separate cases.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a $2.4 million damages award for trademark infringement in Hope Road’s favor, in one unpublished opinion.

Jammin Java Corp. argued the award was improper because Hope Road didn’t show willful infringement.

But it isn’t necessary to show willful trademark infringement when the plaintiff seeks the defendant’s profits as damages, the court said.

Judges A. Wallace Tashima, Kim McLane Wardlaw, and Robert W. Pratt, sitting by designation, were on the panel.

In the other unpublished opinion, Hope Road won dismissal of a suit by a film company that wanted to stop it from asserting its copyrights in Marley songs and interfering with a movie it intended to make about him.

The movie hasn’t been made, the Ninth Circuit said. Due to the “unfinished, uncertain, and speculative nature” of the film, the plaintiff failed to allege the immediacy and reality needed to support the suit, it said.

Judges Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Carlos T. Bea, and Thomas O. Rice, sitting by designation, were on the second panel.

Hawgood Hawgood & Moran LLP represented Jammin Java. U.S. Law Group represented the film company. Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP represented Hope Road in both cases.

The cases are Hope Rd. Merch. LLC v. Jammin Java Corp., 2019 BL 7408, 9th Cir., No. 17-56245, unpublished 1/9/19 and Royal Palm Filmworks, Inc. v. Fifty-Six Hope Rd. Music, Ltd., 2019 BL 7429, 9th Cir., No. 17-56313, unpublished 1/9/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at bpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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