September 26, 2011

Judge Reduces TM Jury Verdict Award To Hendrix

Experience Hendrix, LLC v., Ltd. et al., No. 2:09-cv-00285 (W.D. Wash. filed Sep. 21, 2011) [Doc. 160].

Plaintiffs own various tradmarks incorporating Jimi Hendrix's name, image, signature, song titles and/or lyrics. Defendants used one or more of these federally registered markes on products bearing Hendrix's image or art he created. The case proceeded to trial on three issues: damages for trademark infringement, defendants' liability for violation of Washington's Consumer Protection Act, and upon a finding of liability, actual damages for the consumer protection violation. After trial, the jury deliberated and rendered a verdict in favor of plaintiffs awarding, on the infringement claim, actual damages of $306,650 and defendants' profits of $60,000.

The Court concluded that the evidence, when construed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, permitted only one reasonable conclusion, which was contrary to the jury's verdict concerning lost profits. "Having entirely failed to carry their burden proving expenses, plaintiffs are not entitled, as a matter of law, to an award of lost profits."

The Court further concluded that the jury's awards for injury to reputation and injury to goodwill were contrary to the Court's instructions and unsupported by the evidence.

The Court denied plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees under the Lanham Act in light of defendants' overall success and lack of bad faith. However, Plaintiffs were entitled to attorneys fees under the state consumer protection claim -- which the Court limited to $50,000 (or 10% of the amount requested by Plaintiffs).

Lastly, the Court entered a limited permanent injunction.