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Another trade mark push for Hendrix estate against brother

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 20 March 2017

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The estate of Jimi Hendrix, the rock superstar, has again tried to prevent Hendrix’s brother from using their registered trade marks without authorisation.

This is not the first attempt as a long battle has ensued between the estate and Leon Hendrix over the unauthorised use of a number of trade marks.

Two companies set up by Hendrix’s estate; Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix have repeatedly taken action to prevent the unauthorised use.

The estate owns a number of trade marks, including ‘Jimi Hendrix’ and ‘The Jimi Hendrix Experience’, and design marks of the signature of Jimi Hendrix and an image (head or bust) of him. 

In 2005, Leon Hendrix and business partner Andrew Pitsicalis set up Electric Hendrix, which sold merchandise and alcohol using Hendrix’s signature and the headshot protected as a trade mark.

The estate took action in 2008 in which it was held Electric Hendrix had infringed the estates trade marks.

After this ruling, the court prohibited Electric Hendrix including Pitsicalis from using the ‘headshot’ mark as well as any similar mark as well as the signature and any similar mark to that in the sale of goods or alcohol.

Ignoring this, Pitsicalis set up hendrixlicencing.com in 2008 to sell merchandise.

The court issued another claim. Following this, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an amended permanent injunction, prohibiting Pitsicalis from using a ‘guitar and headshot’, in addition to the other marks previously prohibited.

Again this was not enough.

The most recent claim is in relation to Tiger Paw Beverages set up by the pair in 2014 to sell alcoholic beverages using the Hendrix mark. In addition, the pair have infringed by selling marijuana cigarettes called “Jimi Cannabis Collection: Purple Haze”, cannabis-infused products and t-shirts. 

The repeated permanent injunctions have not been enough to prevent Hendrix and Pitsicalis from infringing the trade marks therefore it is the estate’s hope that this claim will be the last.

Their previous attempts have been successful at trial but not in practise so actions are the outcome of this claim is worth keeping an eye on.

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Ellis Sweetenham quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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