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Miles Davis’s Trademark Owners Sue New York’s Miles’ Cafe

The owners of the late jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’s trademarks sued the operators of a Manhattan jazz club called Miles’ Cafe alleging infringement.

Miles Davis Properties LLC, which includes two of Davis’s children and a nephew, said today the club and an owner, Satoru “Miles” Kobayashi, violated registered trademarks including one of a silhouette of the musician and composer playing his trumpet, in a complaint in federal court in Manhattan.

“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,” lawyers for the trademark owners said in the complaint.

Kobayashi, a trumpeter, told a publication that Miles Davis appeared to him in a dream and told him to change his first name to Miles and open a cafe in his name, according to the complaint.

No one answered the phone at the Miles’ Cafe on 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Davis, who died in 1991, released 67 studio albums and 51 live albums, court papers state. His 1959 album “‘Kind of Blue” is the best-selling jazz album of all time, according to the complaint. A pioneer in various styles of jazz including cool, hard bop, modal and fusion, Davis received eight Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Miles Davis Properties has not authorized any use of the name for a jazz club or other entertainment venue, the complaint states.

The case is Miles Davis Properties LLC v. Miles’ Cafe Corp., 11-5816, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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