The mayor of Margaritaville is suing a local merchant, charging that Robert Akard’s online store unlawfully used Jimmy Buffett’s trademarks to sell clothing, novelties and other items.
Akard’s Web site, www.underonehut.com, sells T-shirts, beach-themed decorations and such items as the “Hula-Tini” handpainted martini glass. Buffett’s federal complaint, filed Monday, asserts that www.under onehut.com had falsely purported to be “Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Online Store for Merchandise.”
Anthony Buzbee, the area attorney representing Buffett, said the problem was the implication that Buffett would soak his “parrothead” fans with exorbitant items.
Among the items still listed on the Web site Monday afternoon was a $20 sign bearing the name of one of Buffett’s songs, “The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful.”
“Many of these products are ones he’s not even authorized to sell, but primarily, the problem is that, in some cases, the markup on items is as high as 50 percent,” Buzbee said. “Jimmy Buffett’s not in business to make money, certainly not anymore, and he doesn’t appreciate what this guy’s been doing.”
Darrell Apffel, the isle attorney representing Akard, called the complaint “a classic case of David versus Goliath,” and said Buffett represented a financial empire trying to shut down a simple businessman.
Apffel said Akard changed the Web site after Buffett’s attorneys complained about what they called implied ties between the site and the singer.
“After taking these steps, in good faith, to comply with these requests, Jimmy Buffett then sought a restraining order to shut down the site, without any warning to Mr. Akard or myself, as his attorney,” Apffel said.
Apffel said the site remained up Monday because neither he nor his client had been given notice of a restraining order. He also said he would “vigorously oppose” Buffett’s efforts to drive his client out of business.
A federal judge in Nevada shut down Akard’s last Buffett-related endeavor, a Web site called parrotsofthecaribbean.com.
Scott E. Williams
The Daily News
November 14, 2006