Doobie Brothers Corp. Sues Millionaire VC’s Cover Band

The slang for marijuana consumption has shifted away from the word “doobie”; words like “joint” or even “blunt” are far more popular. This shift probably didn’t occur because the Doobie Brothers have copyrighted the term “doobies,” but isn’t it incredible that they’ve co-opted that entire word for themselves? “Doobie” and “Doobie Brothers” are both trademarked by the band, and have been since 1982. Accordingly, Billboard reports that Doobie Brothers Corp. and Doobro Entertainment are now are suing a ’70s covers duo called Doobie Decibel System (DDS).

The lawsuit was filed on Friday and states that the Doobie Decibel System’s name is “confusingly similar” to the band’s own. DDS has been in existence for about a year and is the project of Jason Crosby and Roger McNamee. McNamee, who is also a member of a jam band called Moonalice, helped found the multi-billion dollar private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and Elevation Partners. (Elevation Partners was started in conjunction with U2’s Bono.)

The suit further claims that the band is in direct competition with the original Doobie Brothers because they play ’70s styled folk-rock from the same era as the band’s peak. They state that the word “doobie” appears much larger than “decibel system” and their usage is with the “willful intent to trade on the fame and reputation, or to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive consumers.”

The group’s logo depicts a raccoon smoking a huge blunt (doobie) and uses the big bubble letters associated with psychedelic acts like the Grateful Dead and Phish etc. One popular logo for the Doobie Brothers is a soaring eagle with the band’s name and initials across the bird’s wings. The band says the word “doobie” is synonymous with their music in the industry. They are seeking seeking “punitive damages for trademark infringement” and “false designation of origin and unfair competition.” They also demand an “accounting of all earnings by the cover band since their inception.” In other words, this is a case in which they do not want you to listen to the music.