Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., No 12-17502 (9th Cir. Feb. 20, 2015).
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed judgment in favor of Bob Marley's heirs based on defendants' use of Bob Marley's image on t-shirts and other merchandise in a manner likely to cause confusion as to Plaintiffs' sponsorship of approval of the merchandise. Additionally, the Court found that Defendants have waived several defenses by failing to properly raise them in the district court. The appellate court also found that the lower court had not abused its discretion in determining defendant's profits and there was a sufficient evidence to find that defendants willfully infringed plaintiff's rights. Nor did the lower court err in awarding plaintiffs their attorney's fees, as plaintiffs were the prevailing parties, and defendants' conduct was willful. Plaintiffs also succeeded on their tortious interference claims because Plaintiffs' licensing agent testified that one of Plaintiffs' licensees lost an order intended for Wal-Mart because defendant sold t-shirts there. Defendants did succeed, however, in dismissing the right of publicity claim because under Nevada law a publicity right successor waives its publicity rights when it fails to timely register its rights.