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Saturday, November 20, 2004

Big News.Com > Judge dismisses musician's claim over use of his name

Friday November 19, 2004
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit by a 69-year-old jazz musician from Yarmouth against a Japanese company whose chain of clothing stores bears his name.
The ruling was the latest legal setback for Cecil McBee, a Grammy-winning bass player who has spent nine years and several hundred thousand dollars on court battles in Japan and Maine.
McBee claimed that Delica Inc., owner of the chain of some three dozen stores in Japan that sell trendy clothing to teenage girls, took his name without permission.
The company said it was sheer coincidence that its boutiques and the musician shared the same name. In court papers, Delica suggested that it chose the name for its pleasant sound.
McBee's lawsuit sought to force the chain to either stop using his name or to provide him with compensation. His lawyer had suggested a formula based on a percentage of sales, which amount to roughly $100 million a year.
Rejecting the recommendation of a magistrate judge, U.S. District Judge Gene Carter concluded that the court lacks jurisdiction in the case because any damage awards would conflict with Japanese trademark law.
McBee's lawyer, Robert Newton, said he anticipates an appeal.
Newton said McBee was ``quite disappointed, but he's a strong individual and we've always recognized that this case was difficult.''
``We stayed true to the belief that because of the globalization of the marketplace, there has to be a venue somewhere in which this man can get justice,'' the lawyer said.
Todd Holbrook, who represented Delica, said his client will be pleased to learn that its long legal battle has been won. ``It's justice delayed, but it's justice nonetheless,'' he said.
During his 40-year career, McBee has toured globally and performed with such jazz greats as Benny Goodman and Miles Davis. He received his Grammy in 1989 for his contribution to ``Blues for John Coltrane.''

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