Buffett settles trademark suit with online merchant

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GALVESTON, Texas -- Jimmy Buffett and a Galveston merchant he accused of unlawfully using his trademark to sell goods at an online store have settled the matter -- but not before the merchant spent a few hours in jail.

A lawsuit filed last month in federal court sought to shut down Robert Akard's Web site, http://www.underonehut.com.

Anthony Buzbee, a lawyer for Buffett, had accused Akard of unlawfully selling bootleg and marked-up Buffett items on the site, including T-shirts and other items depicting either Buffett or slogans associated with the singer.

Songs recorded by Buffett, 59, include "Margaritaville," "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

Akard's lawyer, Darrell Apffel, had called Buffett a financial empire trying to shut down a small business.

On Nov. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Kent issued a temporary restraining order telling Akard to shut down his site until the case was resolved. On Monday, Kent ordered Akard into custody for contempt of court after finding Akard had disregarded the order.

After spending a few hours in jail, Akard agreed to stop selling any item that bore Buffett's likeness or any of his registered slogans or images. Akard also must turn over all inventory bearing such images or slogans to Buffett's attorneys.

The order didn't require Akard to shut down his site as long as all Buffett-related references were removed.

Phone messages left Thursday with Buzbee and Apffel weren't immediately returned.
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