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10.2009

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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NO COGNAC for THIS DUKE

People get a bit upset when their name and likeness get used without permission. In 2OO6 “Duke Ellington XO Cognac” was launched. The family of the music legend recently filed a federal lawsuit charging that Harbrew Imports released the brand without getting proper permission to use Duke’s name and signature, saying that a negotiation was attempted but never completed and they want all profits earned on the $15O-per-bottle liquor. This isn’t the first case of its kind. Earlier this year a federal judge in Seattle ordered the makers of Electric Hendrix vodka, bearing the likeness of Jimmy Hendrix, to pay $3.2 million in damages to the Hendrix estate for trademark infringement. Not only was the vodka brand created without permission from the Hendrix estate but, given the circumstances of his death, it was also done in extremely poor taste. The vodka has since been pulled from store shelves.

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