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Mellow Moods, Marley estate settle

By Staff | Aug 5, 2011

Mellow Moods will retain use of trademark ‘Mellow Moods.’ (Chronicle photo by Kelly Cambrel)

Mellow Moods Cafe and Juice Bar is set to finish up legal squabble with singer Bob Marley’s estate over the use of the trademark “Mellow Moods.”

Mellow Moods co-owner Philip Mastrangelo said he hopes the legal battle, which began over a year ago, will resolve itself as early as next week.

As previously reported, Mastrangelo was forced to defend ownership of the trademark “Mellow Moods” in the category of nonalcoholic fruit juices and beverages after lawyers for the Marley estate petitioned to have the restaurant’s trademark cancelled.

The estate hoped to market and distribute its own line of nonalcoholic fruit and juice beverages under the moniker “Marley’s Mellow Mood.”

As Shanna Mastrangelo, who co-owns the cafe with her husband, explained in a previous interview, the legal fight began when estate’s counsel served the local eatery with cease and desist orders after being denied use of the trademark that the Mastrangelos registered for nearly two years earlier.

In an interview Tuesday, Philip Mastrangelo said that he and his wife have decided to work with the estate in order to avoid a long-lasting and costly court battle.

“We decided personally to do what we feel very strongly about,” he said.

He said that though he and his wife feel their case would ultimately prevail in court, the cost of pursuing continued legal action is too high.

After meeting with the president of Viva beverages, the company distributing “Marley’s Mellow Mood,” the two parties reached a compromise.

Mastrangelo described it as “a much friendlier and easier way to handle things.”

Both the Mastrangelos and the estate have agreed to sign a co-existence agreement which will allow both businesses to continue use of their own products without interference.

According to Mastrangelo, the agreement stipulates that the restaurant cannot use the term “Mellow Moods” in conjunction to Bob Marley’s name or image.

Mastrangelo clarified that the restaurant has never used Marley’s name or likeness and never plans to, adding that his business will not pursue a portion of earnings made from the sale of Viva’s “Marley’s Mellow Mood” products.

“I’ll stand up for my business. To fight over money … that’s not us,” he said.

The Mastrangelos did, however, seek compensation for the costs incurred in legal fees, which he said “sucked me dry.”

Mastrangelo described his satisfaction with the compromise and said he looks forward to putting the case behind him.

“When it’s all said an done, I’ll be very relieved,” he said.