September 28, 2017

The family of the late reggae superstar Bob Marley recently won $2.4 million in a trademark infringement lawsuit over the coffee brand carrying the family’s name. At issue, says parent company Jammin Java, is the fact that the family decided to nullify its contractual obligation with the coffee brewing company founded in 2007 by former chairman Rohan Marley, one of Bob Marley’s 11 children. Jammin Java counter sued for breach of contract.

“The viability of Jammin Java’s entire business is wholly dependent on its right to utilize the Marley Coffee brand name and other intellectual property owned by (the Marley family),” read the filing by Jammin Java president Anh Tran.

Marley Coffee Lawsuit Case Details and Allegations

Bob Marley Family Wins $2.4M Trademark Infringement Lawsuit | Denver Business Attorney

Bob Marley Family Wins $2.4M Trademark Infringement Lawsuit
| Denver Business Attorney

The following Marley Coffee lawsuit case details and allegations were gathered from news reports, press releases and court documents:1

  • Jammin Java President Ahn Tran was relatively close to making his departure from the Marley Coffee enterprise in 2016, as he nearly negotiated a $10 million equity stake agreement with a potential successor, but then out of nowhere the Marley estate terminated their licensing agreement.
  • Tran claimed Rohan Marley was missing in action most of the year, while still selling nearly 900,000 shares of the company before resigning in June.
  • On July 21, 2016, Hope Road Merchandising LLC (HRM), the Marley family’s private company that owns the property rights for Bob Marley merchandise, issued Jammin Java a cease and desist order, and notification of termination of a short-term license agreement surrounding the trademarked use of Markley Coffee.
  • Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Limited (56 HMR), another Marley family company, and HRM sued Jammin Java for failure to pay royalties on a long-term license, and then continued to the Marley trademark name even after a separate, short-term license ended.
  • The family companies also claimed Jammin Java materially breached the short-term deal by failing to market and advertise Marley Coffee, as well as failing to improperly sublicensing the family trademark rights.
  • Jammin Java alleged that 56 HMR wrongly terminated the earlier long-time licensing agreement to use the family name for the coffee brand.
  • Both parties agreed to enter into discussions about coming up with a forbearance agreement.
  • On August 1, 2016, 56 HMR and HRM field a complaint against Jammin Java in Superior Court in California.
  • On August 4, 2016, Jammin Java ordered a restraining order, made counter claims to the complaint, and sent the case to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Main Factor in the Court’s Decision

U.S. District Court judge Stephen V. Wilson declared that that since Jammin Java did not to show any costs associated with the trademark, the damages award is the full gross revenue made from the Marley Coffee products.

Contact a Denver Business Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC

Has your company or group of investors experienced a breach of contract over a business dealing? If so, Denver Business Attorney Thomas E. Downey can help you get the matter worked out for the best possible outcome. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the legal team at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing legal representation to clients for all kinds of business-related matters, including contract negotiations and mediations.

Call our Denver business attorney today to see how we can provide you with legal assistance at (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

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1“Jammin Java Corp. Issues Shareholder Letter Regarding State of the Business and Providing a Litigation Update” published in the Global News Wire, August 2016.

2“Hollywood Docket: Bob Marley Coffee, Kardashian Beauty and Spotify’s Settlement” published in The Hollywood Reporter, June 2017.

Categories: Breach of Contract, Business Plans, Contract Disputes, Contracts