Intellectual Property Law

Heirs of Miles Davis Sue Miles' Cafe Owner, Who Is Also a Trumpet Player Known as Miles

A New York restaurateur who allegedly claims Miles Davis appeared to him in a dream, leading him to take the legendary jazz musician’s first name and open a cafe using that moniker, is now a defendant in a lawsuit.

Brought by relatives who inherited from Davis’ estate, the Manhattan federal court case claims that Miles’ Cafe operator Satoru “Miles” Kobayashi not only misappropriated the trademarked Miles Davis name but also the signature “silhouette profile” of Davis playing his trumpet that appeared on his album covers, Courthouse News Service reports.

A web page for the restaurant, which is billed as the Miles’ Cafe Jazz Club New York, imposes Kobayashi’s name over a trumpet-player silhouette at the upper left-hand corner.

Kobayashi also is a trumpet player, notes a Bloomberg article about the case.

The news agency says no one answered the phone at the cafe when it tried to seek comment.

“Defendants are intentionally free-riding off the goodwill associated with the Miles Davis marks by using them to promote a jazz club entitled Miles’ Cafe in a way that is likely to mislead the public,” the complaint contends.

The plaintiff is Miles Davis Properties, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “A Trove of Historic Jazz Recordings has Found a Home in Harlem, But You Can’t Hear Them”

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