14 August 2017Trademarks

Rock band Jefferson Starship name dispute rolls on

One of the founding members of US rock band Jefferson Starship has been told he can file an amended complaint for breach of contract against his former bandmates, but has seen other aspects of his complaint rejected.

In a ruling handed down on Friday, August 11, Judge Maria-Elena James said guitarist Craig Chaquico may sue ex-bandmates over merchandise and performing rights.

The case stems from a complaint (pdf) filed by Chaquico in April in which he sought injunctive relief, damages, triple damages and attorneys’ fees from his former bandmates for continuing to use the ‘Jefferson Starship’ name after the death of the co-founder Paul Katner, in 2016.

The complaint stated that before Katner died, Chaquico had allowed him to exclusively continue to use the name of the band and songs in live performances after the band split, in order to “preserve the band’s legacy”.

Before his death, the complaint alleged Katner had joined with former bandmate David Freiberg and others on live performances and that they then continued to use the band’s name after his death.

Chaquico said this had breached the agreement initially in place, and further accused them of trademark infringement for selling merchandise bearing the faces of all members.

The judge  said (pdf) Chaquico can sue for damages covering the period after the January 2016 death of Katner, but dismissed the claims for earlier alleged breaches of contract and a trademark claim over the use of likeness.

“While he [Chaquico] alleges defendants use his likeness in ‘a blatant attempt to confuse the public’, there are no facts to support this assertion.”

She ordered Chaquico to file an amended complaint no later than September 1, 2017.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories:

Harley-Davidson continues fight against counterfeiters

Orrick expands team with K&L Gates lawyer

Patents set on fire at USPTO protest

Cards Against Humanity granted injunction in copyright and TM claim

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

5 January 2022   The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has overturned a district court’s decision to certify class status for musicians and composers suing the recording archive Wolfgang’s Vault for copyright infringement.