Texas residents may be interested to learn that a large coffee company has been slapped with a multi-million dollar bill for infringing on the trademarks of reggae musician Bob Marley. In a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the judgement by a lower court to award damages was affirmed. The coffee company was originally sued for illegally modifying the royalty agreement paid to the owners of Marley’s copyrighted work.
Jammin Java Corp, the California-based coffee company accused of using music and images from the reggae artist even after its license to do so expired, is required to pay $2.5 million in damages. The company fought the original May 2017 decision in the lawsuit by claiming that California includes a disfavored forfeiture clause. Judges in the cases disagreed, stating that the coffee company had an unambiguous procedure for terminating their agreement.
The coffee company in this case also tried to fight the original ruling in the lawsuit by claiming that the compensation constituted a windfall for the copyright owner. This claim is based on the copyright owner’s failure to provide evidence for willful trademark violations. The court panel found this argument unconvincing because the plaintiff sought damages based on the profits of the copyright violator.
When a company encounters major contract disputes, it’s important to take legal action. Both plaintiffs and defendants can benefit from the support and guidance provided by legal professionals. Sometimes, it benefits both parties to resolve these disputes out of court. However, filing a lawsuit and going in front of judges or juries may be required.