Bob Marley’s estate has won an appeal case against the clothing company A.V.E.L.A., which used Marley’s image without the family’s permission.
In 2008, Marley’s family sued A.V.E.L.A. for creating shirts with Marley’s likeness on them and selling them through stores like Target and Walmart. In 2011, the family won their case and the court ordered the clothing company to pay more than $2 million in damages.
After years of the decision being tied up in the appeals process, a Nevada appeals court agreed Friday with the original judgment.
At issue, in this case, was whether or not consumers thought when they purchased A.V.E.L.A. t-shirts, were under the impression that the Marley family had given the company permission to sell famous musician’s image.
In order to resolve the question, the plaintiffs conducted polls at shopping centers asking, “Who do you think gave their permission or approval for this particular T-shirt to be made or put out?” Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said that they thought that the Marley family had endorsed the selling of the t-shirt.
Ninth Circuit Court Judge N. Randy Smith explained, “This case presents a question that is familiar in our circuit. When does the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitute false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act.”
In the past couple of years the Marley family has used the musician’s likeness on coffee, head phones, and even an official Bob Marley marijuana.