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Jefferson Airplane co-founder is sued

March 24, 2007|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Is this a flashback? One faction of the 1960s psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane is again suing founding member Paul Kantner, alleging that he's using the band's name without permission.

Singer Grace Slick and Bill Thompson, former manager of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, filed the federal suit this week, accusing Kantner of violating trademark rights and a settlement signed in 1985.

Kantner, who once was romantically involved with Slick, promised never to perform as Jefferson Starship or use the names "Jefferson" or "Airplane" without consent from Slick, majority shareholder in Jefferson Starship Inc., the lawsuit said.

Kantner, 66, has been performing for years under variations on the names. He started touring in 1991 as Paul Kantner's Starship; Mickey Thomas, another ex-Starship vocalist, has been touring under the name of Mickey Thomas' Starship. Kantner's and Airplane vocalist and co-founder Marty Balin's use of the Airplane name in a 2000 concert tour brought another lawsuit and an injunction.

The current lawsuit says Kantner has cost Thompson, Slick and Jefferson Starship Inc. more than $750,000 in revenue by using a name not rightfully his. The lawsuit seeks to confiscate his profit and stop him from performing as Jefferson Starship.

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