Thelonious Monk Estate Sues Brewery for “Brother Thelonious” Ale
The estate of Thelonious Monk has alleged that North Coast Brewing, maker of “Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale,” violated the estate’s trademark and publicity rights. Monk v. North Coast Brewing Co. Inc., No. 17-5015 (N.D. Cal., filed Aug. 29, 2017). According to the complaint, the estate verbally granted the brewer the right to use Monk’s name, image and likeness “for the limited purpose of marketing and distributing” the ale in exchange for the brewer’s agreement to donate a portion of the profits to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of California, Los Angeles, but later revoked the rights in 2016. The estate alleges North Coast has exceeded its rights by using the musician’s name or likeness on other merchandise, including cups, hats, hoodies or posters. Alleging trademark infringement, right of publicity and unjust enrichment, the estate seeks an injunction, profits attributable to the alleged violations, damages and attorney’s fees.