The Red Hot Chili Peppers on Monday sued Showtime Networks over the name of the television series “Californication,” which is also the name of the band’s 1999 album and a single on it.
The lawsuit alleges unfair competition, dilution of the value of the name and unjust enrichment, claiming the title is “inherently distinctive, famous ... and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer” with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Californication is the signature CD, video and song of the band’s career, and for some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right,” said the band’s lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, in a statement.
The television series stars David Duchovny as a novelist suffering from writers’ block and a mid-life crisis.
The show features a character named “Dani California,” which is also the title of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song released in 2006, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also names the show’s creator and executive producer, Tom Kapinos, and two production companies, Twilight Time Films and Aggressive Mediocrity, Inc.
A call Monday to an attorney for Showtime was not immediately returned. Attempts to find a listing for Kapinos were not successful.
The suit seeks a permanent injunction barring Showtime and the other defendants from using the title “Californication” for the show, damages and restitution and disgorgement of all profits derived by the defendants.
In July 2007, Kapinos, told reporters at a Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills that he first heard the term in Oregon.
“Apparently in the ‘70s there were bumper stickers that said ‘Don’t Californicate Oregon,’ because Californians were coming up there, and I just through it was a great, great title for this show,” said Kapinos.