California Intellectual Property Blog


#Deadmau5 Sues #Vape Company for #Trademark Infringement

mouseLos Angeles – Electronic dance music star deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”) is suing executives of an e-cigarette company for alleged trademark infringement. The DJ, whose real name is Joel Zimmerman, filed a federal lawsuit in California on March 31, 2016 saying West Coast Vape Supply is intentionally infringing on his deadmau5 trademark.

Zimmerman is alleging that the deadmodz vape brand is confusing deadmau5 fans who think Zimmerman is behind the electronic cigarette line, according to the lawsuit.

Zimmerman claims the deadmodz electronic cigarette line is trying to capitalize on his fame and take advantage of a decade long career. He is suing for trademark infringement and false association, and he is seeking statutory and punitive damages and a permanent injunction to ban West Coast Vape from using deadmodz. Zimmerman’s trademark attorney publicly sent out a statement saying they’re suing to protect not just the artist’s trademark but also his fans.

The lawsuit claims deadmau5 is a brand Zimmerman has been building for more than a decade. It also explains the origins of his onstage persona. In 2002, Zimmerman took his computer apart and found a dead mouse inside. When he posted the story online, people started referring to him as “dead mouse guy.” He embraced the new nickname and tried to change his screen name to “deadmouse.” In doing so, he found that the Internet Relay Chat channel he was using limited usernames to eight characters. Trying to be creative, he used leet spelling, and he became deadmau5.

Not only is the name “deadmodz” similar to “deadmau5,” Zimmerman argues that the vape company also copied the bubble style font Zimmerman uses in his logo. In an effort to avoid the litigation, Zimmerman’s music attorney sent several letters to Alham Benyameen, the principal of West Coast Vape.

After an initial cease and desist letter, sent on February 5, 2016, Benyameen substantially changed his website and logo design. In response, Zimmerman’s attorney made it clear that those minimal changes weren’t good enough and tried again to settle out of court in a February 19, 2016 letter. When West Coast Vape still didn’t comply, Zimmerman was forced to file the lawsuit.


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