This joke was no laughing matter. Don Henley, lead singer of the Eagles, didn’t take too kindly to an apparel company that sent out an email with the pun, “Don a Henley and Take it Easy” and sued the brand for trademark infringement and violation of his rights of publicity. Now the company has agreed to never use the musician’s name again and apologized on top of it.
Henley is the last name of the Eagles’ lead singer, Don. In 1971, the Eagles were formed and became one of the most popular and best selling bands of all-time. One of their first big hits was “Take it Easy”. The band has also been notorious for their in-fighting which once lead to Henley to state that he would perform again with the band when hell freezes over…the reunion was called the Hell Freezes Over tour. Henleys is the name of a British clothing manufacturer, no relation to the singer, that proudly displays it is a registered trademark on its clothes. Henleys sent out an email blast with the term “Don a Henley and Take it Easy” making both a pun on the Eagles’ singer’s name and the hit song…get it.
Don sued Henleys for trademark infringement (his name is a registered trademark) and violation of his rights of publicity. The parties have put all jokes aside and reached a settlement. As part of a settlement, as set forth in a Consent Judgment, Henleys has agreed to be banned from ever using Don Henley’s name or any combination of the words in association with its advertisements. Further, Henleys took to its Facebook page and posted a public apology saying they took the joke a little too far. No word on if the apology was part of a settlement but seems unusual that the company would apologize without some motivating factor. Now, only if Progressive would apologize for all the Flo jokes in its commercials.