New lawsuits over Jefferson Starship name, the Hotel California name and …. a cat

June 2017




A founding member of Jefferson Starship has filed a legal action in a move designed to prevent the current version of the legendary band from using the name Jefferson Starship. The band evolved out of the group Jefferson Airplane in 1974 and also produced the ‘spin off’ band Starship (itself a name change after a legal dispute). Craig Chaquico,  who was member of the Jefferson Starship line-up, and subsequently played with Starship, has brougt the action: The Jefferson Starship name was retired in the mid-1980s after a little legal battle between members. In the 1990s, Paul Kantner, a founder member of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship and the first member of Jefferson Airplane to use the Jefferson Starship name, began to use the Jefferson Starship name again. Chaquico, who had also played on  three of Kantner and Grace Slick’s solo albums, now says that he gave permission for Kantner’s later use of the band’s Jefferson Starship brand, but his agreement and consent was for Kantner personally and again came after litigation and arbitration in 1993 (Kantner died in 2016), and that previous inter-band agreeements and settlements mean the current band members do not have his permission to continue using the name, telling the press “For this band line-up to tour and call itself Jefferson Starship is woefully misleading to the public and confuses longtime fans”.
And the Eagles are bringing an action to protect te phrase  ‘Hotel California’, suing the owners of a Mexican hotel that is called Hotel California, as the name Hotel California is not only an Eagles’ song and  album, but the “essence of the band itself”. The band also allege that Hotel’s marketing relies heavily on the band’s hits. The decision by Hotel California Baja LLC to try to register the trademark ‘Hotel California’ in the US is likely to be a factor behind the band’s litigation. The hotel in question was actually originally called Hotel California when it opened in 1950, twenty six years before The Eagles released their song of the same name. But it then changed its name a number of times during the latter half of the 20th century before a Canadian couple bought it in 2001 and restored the Hotel California brand. In a complaint filed in the Central District of California court on 1 May, the Eagles allege that owners of the 11 room hotel in Baja California Sur “actively encourage” visitors to believe it is directly affiliated with the band.


And finally on bands and names, it’s a cat and mouse game. Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmermanhas) has counter sued Emma Bassiri, who owns the website on the grounds Bassirt’s business is named after the producer’s cat, Professor Meowingtons. In fact it was Bassiri who first sued, bringing an action against Zimmerman after he filed a petition with the US Patent & Trademark office challenging her registration of the Meowingtons trademark. Now he is countersuing accusing Bassiri of trademark infringement, cybersquatting and unfair competition. Zimmerman’s cat is well known to the producer’s own fans and has its own Instagram account and is featured on merchandise sold by Deadmau5.  Zimmerman is also suing Scott Hutchison, a former DJ who allegedly  manages the website.

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