Business News Legal

Bob Marley companies win $2.4 million damages in coffee trademark case

By | Published on Friday 2 June 2017

The Bob Marley estate has been awarded $2.4 million in damages as a result of a trademark dispute with a company called Jammin Java Corp.

Jammin Java – a business that originally involved Bob Marley’s son Rhohan – had a licence from Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd and Hope Road Merchandising LLC, two companies controlled by the Marley family, which allowed it to make and sell a coffee product that utilised the late musician’s name and trademark.

But the two sides in that deal fell out last year, initially over unpaid royalties and allegations that Jammin Java was unlawfully sublicensing the Marley Coffee brand to third parties, and then when Jammin Java continued to sell the coffee brand even once its licences had expired. Fifty-Six Hope Road Music and Hope Road Merchandising ultimately went legal in August.

The Marley companies won their legal claim via a summary judgement, and then in April this year demanded damages of $2.4 million. The damages related to what the Marley family said Jammin Java had earned while selling Marley Coffee without licence from July 2016 through to January 2017.

For its part, Jammin Java didn’t dispute its liability for trademark infringement, but it argued that it didn’t make any profits from selling Marley Coffee after its licences expired. But the judge hearing the case said this week that the defendant had failed to prove that claim, partly because it had been developing a new competing brand during the latter half of last year, which possibly accounted for a chunk of its costs during that period.

According to Law360, judge Stephen V Wilson said that “although undoubtedly some of its expenses related to the sale and production of Marley Coffee … the defendant’s claim that all of its expenses were related to the production and sale of Marley Coffee had been refuted by reliable evidence, and it provides no additional evidence of costs or expenses exclusively related to Marley Coffee”.



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