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Experience Hendrix Sues Vodka Maker over Use of Deceased Musician's Name

Owners of the Jimi Hendrix family of trademarks have sued over use of the deceased musician’s name in connection with the marketing of vodka. Experience Hendrix, LLC, and Authentic Hendrix, LLC, filed suit yesterday in the Western District against Washington-based Electric Hendrix, LLC, Electric Hendrix Apparel, LLC, Electric Licensing, LLC, and Craig Diffenbach. The suit alleges a number of trademark claims, including infringement, dilution by blurring, and dilution by tarnishment.

Hendrix Electric Vodka.jpgThe complaint alleges Mr. Diffenbach formed Electric Hendrix, LLC, in 2005 for the purpose of selling, bottling and marketing vodka as HENDRIX ELECTRIC, JIMI HENDRIX ELECTRIC, or JIMI HENDRIX ELECTRIC VODKA.

Plaintiffs allege use of those marks, “a similar Jimi Hendrix ‘headshot’ logo and Jimi Hendrix signature, the slogan ‘A JIMI HENDRIX FAMILY COMPANY,’ and Experience Hendrix’s song and album titles, along with other elements, to advertise and sell Mr. Diffenbach’s and Electric Hendrix’s products are intended to deceive and defraud the public and to pass off and palm off their vodka and other merchandise as authorized by the Hendrix family companies and Jimi Hendrix’s heirs.”

Plaintiffs state that Experience Hendrix, LLC, owns the registered trademarks JIMI HENDRIX, AUTHENTIC HENDRIX, and EXPERIENCE HENDRIX (and Design), in connection with clothing, ordering services, magazines, sound recordings, and entertainment services, as well as a number of common law marks associated with the musician.

The Seattle Times reports the Hendrix family especially objects to the use of Mr. Hendrix’s name to sell vodka. 

“In view of the circumstances of my brother Jimi’s death, this attempt to associate his name with the sale of alcohol beverages amounts to a sick joke” stepsister Janie Hendrix said in a statement released yesterday.

The Hendrix family is connected with the plaintiffs in this case.

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