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Not so ‘mellow’

By Staff | Apr 21, 2011

Mellow Moods Cafe and Juice Bar is currently in dispute with the family of the late musician Bob Marley over the use of the trademark “Mellow Moods” for its fruit smoothies and juice beverages.

Mellow Moods, which registered for its trademark in July 2008, began as a local drink shop, specializing in fresh juices and fruit and veggie smoothies.

According to Shanna Mastrangelo, who co-owns the cafe with her husband Phil, she was contacted about a year ago by the Marley family’s attorneys, who ordered the eatery to cease and desist with the use of its “Mellow Moods” trademark.

Mastrangelo described discovering that the Marley estate planned to market and distribute a beverage called “Marley’s Mellow Mood.”

” i was shocked,” she said.

The estate filed to register with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in June 2010 and requested the cancellation of the trademark own by the Mastangelos after being denied use of the trademark.

According to the application, Marley’s Mellow Mood is a variety of flavored water, juices and energy drinks.

The application lists the product in same class and category of the trademark owned by Mellow Moods restaurant, “Mineral and aerated waters and other nonalcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making juices” and “light beverage products.

According to Mastrangelo the estate attempted to frame Mellow Moods as a Marley-themed beverage and food restaurant.

Mastrangelo believes that because people have frequently exploited the image of Bob Marley since his passing, the family have become especially vigilant about protecting the Marley legacy, a sentiment Mastrangleo said she understands.

“The family has every right to aggressively pursue these lawsuits against people who really are infringing, but they can’t wrongfully frame us because it meets their business interests,” she said.Mastrangelo characterized the situation as “a very costly legal mistake” on the part of the Marley family attorneys who she said failed to properly research the trademark for “Mellow Moods” before developing and packaging their beverage.

Mastrangelo doubts that the estate’s attorneys have been entirely forthcoming with their clients about what she called “a legal error” and expressed a desire to contact the Marley family directly.

“I think (the Marley family) would practice what their father preached, and wouldn’t take advantage of a small business,” she said.

The status of the trademark owned by the Mellow Moods restaurant is currently pending cancellation.

The restaurant plans to respond to the petition made by the Marley estate, and Mastrangelo said she hopes to avoid having to file a federal civil suit against the estate.