Ninth Circuit Court Ruling Reasserts Publicity Rights Of Family
NEW TRIAL ORDERED REGARDING DAMAGES SUFFERED BY EXPERIENCE HENDRIX FROM TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT
This week the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a comprehensive 45-page opinion reversing a 2011 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly that held that the (State of) Washington’s Personality Rights Act (WPRA) was unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the WPRA is constitutional as applied to the facts of the case.
Experience Hendrix, founded by James “Al” Hendrix, the late guitar great’s father and sole heir, is owned and operated by the family of Jimi Hendrix and oversees and manages the legendary artist’s internationally recognized copyrights, trademarks, and service marks, and related intellectual property rights. Led, since their inception by a team of family members chosen by Al Hendrix during his tenure as Chairman, the companies today are headed by Jimi’s sister, Janie L. Hendrix, President & CEO. Through their administration of his recordings, songs, trademarks, service marks, name, image, and likeness, and related IP rights, these companies oversee Jimi Hendrix’s legacy and continue to license and create products, services, and events that closely promote and mirror Jimi’s unique vision.
This week’s ruling underscores the Hendrix companies’ continuing and exclusive right to license products bearing the Hendrix name, image, and likeness. Judge Zilly had entered a permanent injunction prohibiting Andrew Pitsicalis and his companies from using the words “Hendrix” or “Jimi Hendrix” in any domain names and from using a headshot logo and a “Jimi Hendrix” signature logo to sell products. A federal jury awarded Experience Hendrix $1.7 million in damages for Pitsicalis‚ infringing activities that Judge Zilly subsequently reduced. The Ninth Circuit ruling calls for a new trial of the amount of damages caused by Pitsicalis’ infringement of trademarks held by Experience Hendrix.
Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix expressed her commitment to preserving Jimi Hendrix’s legacy by requesting the courts to enforce Experience Hendrix’s federally registered trademarks. She noted, “We are committed to preserving our ownership of these federally registered trademarks. The permanent injunction has enforced our marks and prohibited Mr. Pitsicalis’ infringing activities. At the new trial, we will request the jury to return a verdict against Mr. Pitsicalis for the full measure of damages available to us under the law.