I admit to being a fan of both trademarks and Jimi Hendrix. Which made noting Ron Coleman's post “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” from his blog LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® a no-brainer:
The signature was a trademark? It had secondary meaning? I think maybe John Hancock’s signature has secondary meaning, but I can’t think of too many other ones, though I am sure there are. But Hendrix’s? Here’s the reasoning, per Mike’s excerpt from the opinion:
During oral argument, counsel for defendants indicated that defendants are now confining their use of the signature to posters, fine art prints, and apparel. The Court interprets counsel’s remark as a concession that defendants’ use of Jimi Hendrix’s signature constitutes branding, and it is not exempted from infringement liability by either the nominative or the classic fair use doctrine.
“Branding” — “infringement” — “liabilty” — “fair use” — all very interesting concepts.
But they only apply to trademarks, Your Honor! How you got a trademark here?