As reported in the Wisconsin State Journal, Eagles founding member Don Henley filed a federal lawsuit last week in the Central District of California against Wisconsin-based clothing retailer Duluth Trading Company, claiming trademark infringement, false endorsement and unfair competition, and violation of right of publicity (note—the article erroneously characterizes the suit as a copyright infringement case). The suit was prompted by an October 6, 2014 advertisement for henley-style shirts run by Duluth Trading Company using the tagline, “Don a Henley and Take it Easy.” In addition to the statutory and common-law rights of publicity attached to his famous name, Henley owns two U.S. trademark registrations for the mark DON HENLEY (Reg. Nos. 2337742 and 2359466), which formally protect his name as a trademark. Henley claims that the clothing company knowingly and willfully infringed on his rights by using both his name and the song title “Take it Easy” in its ad without permission. Because the suit was just filed last week, Duluth Trading Company has not yet filed an Answer to Henley’s Complaint, and it is unclear how the case will ultimately be resolved. However, the case provides an overview of the various types of protection that musicians, actors, models, performers, athletes, celebrities, and other individuals and groups can use to protect and promote their public personas. Read the full article here, and Henley’s Complaint here.
Reposted from the Wisconsin State Journal.