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Jakarta Post

Hendrix family feud resolved on trademark

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

New York, United States   /   Sat, August 15, 2015   /  10:31 am

Dueling descendants of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix have reached a settlement after going to court over the rights to T-shirts and other merchandise bearing his image.

The Seattle-born Hendrix, a pioneering player of the electric guitar, died at age 27 in 1970 with no will, leaving his father to take charge of his estate.

The father, Al Hendrix, died in 2002 after transferring rights to the estate to his adopted daughter Janie Hendrix.

The sister, who runs the companies Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix, filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Hendrix Licensing, which was run by Nevada entrepreneur Andrew Pitsicalis with the guitarist's brother, Leon.

The sister's companies charged that the rival had knowingly marketed merchandise with trademarked images, such as T-shirts with an electric guitar that features Jimi Hendrix's face on the body.

Seattle-based federal judge Thomas Zilly in May issued an injunction against Hendrix Licensing, prohibiting the Nevada company from using the face-guitar image or Hendrix's signature.

The judge also banned the firm from using Hendrix's name in its business, although he stopped short of a blanket bar on anything related to the guitarist.

Before the case could go to trial, the two sides reached a settlement, a court document showed.

The document said that Pitsicalis would be required to pay a settlement over five years, although the amount was not specified.

The resolution of the case was earlier reported by The Seattle Times.

Images of deceased celebrities have long been a contentious area, with mixed legal views on the rights of the heirs.

A jury in Nevada in 2011 ordered a company to pay more than $2 million to the estate of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley for selling T-shirts with his likeness at major retailers such as Walmart.

A federal judge upheld the decision earlier this year, saying that the T-shirts could give the impression that Marley had endorsed them.

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