A Renton music program working with at-risk youth has been removed from a long-running legal feud between members of Jimi Hendrix’s family, meaning the Hendrix Music Academy can continue to use the Hendrix name.
On Thursday, a U.S. District Court judge removed the Hendrix Music Academy and its founder Tina Hendrix from a contempt order stemming from alleged trademark violations. The not-for-profit youth program run by the music icon’s niece was pulled into the courtroom battle between the musician’s estate and his brother, Leon Hendrix, following a Seattle memorial event held last fall in Jimi Hendrix Park to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of the Seattle-raised guitar hero.
In January, the U.S. District Court judge in New York ruled that the event, which also serves as an annual fundraiser for the tuition-free music school, violated an injunction against Tina’s father, Leon Hendrix, and any of his associates that was issued last year after the court found that Leon had committed numerous trademark and copyright infractions by selling an array of Jimi Hendrix-branded products. Leon Hendrix had been listed as one of the Hendrix Music Academy’s governors, though Tina said in an interview last month that he had no involvement with its operations.
The injunction would have forced the academy to change its name and website to indicate that it’s unaffiliated with Jimi Hendrix or his estate, as well as remove any “Jimi Hendrix indicia” from its website.
Thursday’s decision to remove Tina Hendrix and the academy from the injunction comes after the school formally severed ties with Leon. Jimi Hendrix’s estate, which is controlled by Jimi’s adopted sister Janie Hendrix, consented to the decision, according to court documents.
The connection to the famed Seattle musician has been both critical for attracting donations as well as personally meaningful for Tina, who launched the academy in part to honor her uncle’s legacy, she said last month.
“All I have ever wanted to do is help kids in our neighborhood — in the same neighborhoods my uncle loved,” Tina said in a statement after Thursday’s ruling. “And being able to celebrate my uncle’s legacy and music at the same time is truly an honor. I know he would be proud of all that we’ve accomplished, and that we will continue to share his love of music with children from all walks of life.”