The Jimi Hendrix estate has recently had a jury award of 1.7 million dollars for trademark infringement thrown out by a Federal District Court Judge in Seattle. Judge Thomas Zilly reduced the award to $60,000, refusing to award treble damages and modifying an injunction in order to provide for fair use rights. He also reduced the amount of attorneys’ fees requested from $500,000 to $50,000. In making the decision, the Judge pointed to awards of different dollar amounts for claims of injury to reputation and injury to goodwill, when the jury was instructed that reputation and goodwill are the same for a business. The judge also found that the plaintiff failed to provide evidence of expenses, which must be presented in order to receive lost profits.
The judge reduced the requested attorneys’ fees due to time spent by the attorneys on unsuccessful motions and claims. The estate’s attorney failed to properly itemize their bill which would allow the court to determine what efforts were expended on each of the motions. Judge Zilly said the family “utterly failed to assist the court” in separating time spent on unsuccessful motions or withdrawn claims and therefore he reduced the requested fees by 90%.