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Brother Records, Inc. v. Jardine
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
318 F.3d 900 (2003)
In the 1960s, the Beach Boys formed Brother Records, Inc. (BRI) (plaintiff) to administer the music group’s intellectual-property rights. In the 1990s, two of the original founding members, Al Jardine (defendant) and Mike Love, both wanted to tour. However, by this point in the band’s history, discord had developed among the members, such that Jardine and Love did not want to tour together. The BRI board agreed to issue nonexclusive licenses to each member who wanted to tour separately while using the Beach Boys as a trademarked entity. Love undertook a tour under a nonexclusive license. Jardine attempted to carry out a tour of his own, using names that included “Beach Boys”—e.g., Beach Boys Family and Friends, but with “Beach Boys” displayed more prominently than “Family and Friends.” A dispute arose as to whether a license had been granted to Jardine. BRI brought suit for infringement of the Beach Boys as a trademark. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of BRI and issued a permanent injunction. Jardine appealed, arguing that his use of “Beach Boys” was protected by both nominative fair use and classic (or descriptive) fair use. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Tashima, J.)
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