Don Henley Is Not Amused By Clothing Company’s Shirt Puns

henleyvshenleyExhibit A: Don Henley of the Eagles, a band with a song called “Take It Easy.” Exhibit B: A Henley style T-shirt, on sale with the phrase, “Don a Henley and Take it easy.” This attempt at punnery — pretty successful, if you ask me — is not amusing to Don Henley, who is suing a clothing company for using his name to shill shirts without his permission.

The musician is suing Duluth Trading Company over an email ad it sent out to customers featuring what could be just a harmless play on words, or could be an unauthorized use of Henley’s name and infringement on his tradermarks and publicity rights, reports Billboard.

The apparent reference to the Eagles’ song and the fact that his full name is part of the phrase is at the heart of the lawsuit filed in California district court. He accuses the company of taking advantage of his fame, saying the ad could confused consumers into thinking he’s endorsing the product.

A rep for Henley told Billboard in a statement:

“This kind of thing happens with some degree of frequency and the members of the Eagles always defend their rights, often at great expense. One would think that the people in charge of marketing for these corporations would have learned by now that U.S. law forbids trading on the name of a celebrity without permission from that celebrity.

Both Mr. Henley and the Eagles have worked hard, for over 40 years, to build their names and goodwill in the world community. They pride themselves on the fact that they have never allowed their names, likenesses or music – individually or as a group – to be used to sell products. Their names are their trademarks and, therefore, they take offense when an individual or a business tries to piggyback and capitalize on their art, their hard work and their goodwill in the public arena.”

Thus far Duluth Trading Company hasn’t issued a comment. You can view the lawsuit in full here.

Consumerist reader Alexander to point out that this lawsuit is a lot like another Henley brought in the past.

“In 1999, he brought a lawsuit in Texas after an ad used a character named Don, wearing a Henley, with the copy “This is Don’s Henley.” Henley v. Dillard Department Store, 46 F.Supp.2d 587 (ND Texas, 1999)” writes Alexander. Clearly, no other combination of “don” and “Henley” will escape the steely gaze of Don Henley.

Don Henley Not Taking It Easy on Pun-Loving Clothing Company [Billboard]

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