November 14, 2006

On Monday, attorneys for Jimmy Buffett filed suit against an alleged infringer of Buffett’s marks. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division, accuses Robert Akard of infringement of Buffet’s name and likeness to sell merchandise without Buffett’s permission. According to the E! Online article (link below), Buffett has taken Akard to court previously, even obtaining a court order against him in Nevada, but the court order was not broad enough to extend to Akard’s subsequent ventures in New York, Texas, and Florida. The lawsuit, according to the Reuters article (link below), asks the court “to order Akard to stop using the singer's name and likeness, account for his profits, turn them over to Buffett and pay unspecified damages.” Akard’s website does include a number of Jimmy Buffett and tropical-themed items, and some of the web pages include the disclaimer that “Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville and Parrothead are all registered marks of Jimmy Buffett” and that “Under One Hut is not affiliated or associated with Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville or Jimmy Buffett affiliated companies.” Buffett has applied for hundreds of trademarks in the United States, including those listed above, WASTIN' AWAY AGAIN IN MARGARITAVILLE, PERFECT MARGARITA, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE, and BLEW OUT MY FLIP FLOP . . . STEPPED ON A POP TOP!, among others.

Reuters News Article: LINK
E! Online Article: LINK
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Website: LINK
Akard’s UnderOneHut Website: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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