Kenny Chesney filed a copyright lawsuit this week in federal court, but it has nothing to do with one of the country superstar's songs. It's regarding the use of his name and trademarked logo of a guitar leaning against a palm tree to sell branded merchandise.
Chesney's suit demands that a merchandising company stop producing T-shirts and other clothing items with his name and logo.
Chesney owns the trademark for a logo featuring a guitar leaning against a palm tree. He contracted with a licensing company, Latitude, to use his name and logo to sell merchandise.
Although Chesney was supposed to have final approval of any agreements between the licensing company and merchandisers, a company called T&M Enterprises began producing T-shirts and other gear without Chesney's permission, according to the lawsuit.
Chesney notified the company to stop producing the merchandise, and the two sides reached a settlement agreement in January 2013 that would allow T&M to sell its remaining items. But the company has continued to do so even after it was supposed to have stopped under the settlement agreement, the lawsuit states.
"We believed we had an equitable settlement in place," a statement from a Chesney spokesman said. "As time has passed, we realized that, in fact, the defendant had no intention of honoring the agreement. Regrettably, we were forced into taking further legal action. The details of our complaint are provided in the lawsuit filed in Nashville."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and asks for a judge to make T&M and its designer, Harneet Pasricha, stop making the merchandise.
"Under the terms of the settlement agreement, defendant T&M agreed to stop using the Chesney (intellectual property) in connection with the manufacture, sale, advertising and promotion of its goods worldwide," the lawsuit states.
In the last few years, Chesney has sold an array of products, including his own music, under the "Blue Chair" brand. His Blue Chair Records is an imprint for Sony Nashville.
Chesney also owns Blue Chair Bay Rum, a massively successful liquor company that is among the fast growing liquor companies.