A family dispute ensued in the form of a Trade Mark infringement law suit between the Marley Companies, and a Californian based coffee company which was founded by one of Bob Marley’s son’s.
It was found by the federal district court that Jammin Java (the coffee company) failed to pay royalties to the Marley companies for the use of branded coffee, but did continue to use the Trade Marks even when the license was revoked.
The issue for the judge to consider was not as simple as it being a Trade Mark infringement, because this was not disputed. The Jammin Java coffee company admitted the infringement, but claimed that throughout the infringement period they did not make any profit on the sale of the coffee other than to pay general costs and expenses.
However, Jammin Java could not prove that its expenses counterweighed the profits from the unauthorised sale of the coffee. This meant that they were liable, and were ordered to pay a whopping $2.4 million in damages to the Marley companies.
This case highlights that whatever the jurisdiction a Trade Mark falls under, any infringement of that use of a Trade Mark can result in a heavy penalty. So, always ensure to either register your mark or have a solid agreement in place with the owner, that you must stick to.