A Miami Suit charges NCL stole musicians' 'Fuacata'
A group of Miami musicians said they have filed a trademark infringement suit against Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Lines, claiming the company is illegally using their name aboard one of its ships.
The musicians, Andrew Yeomanson, Erik Fabregat and Ralph de la Portilla, described their "Fuacata" entertainment service as a fusion of music and dance presented in a combination of Latin, funk, hip-hop and reggae rhythms using turntables, electronic samplers, wind, string and other instruments. They said they developed Fuacata and popularized it over the last year and a half at a dance club called Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana.
The lawsuit alleges NCL is trying to capitalize on the Fuacata service by offering "Fuacata" entertainment parties aboard its new ship, the Norwegian Dawn, which is scheduled to make its maiden voyage Dec. 16.
"The name and the concept are owned by us," said Yeomanson. "We would never dream of using the name 'NCL,' and a giant company like NCL should know better than to use our name."
Alan K. Fertel, attorney and partner at the law firm of Ferrell Schultz Carter Zumpano & Fertel, is representing the musicians.
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"This is a unique type of entertainment service that my clients have made popular and worked hard to brand with the Fuacata name," Fertel said. His co-counsel, Mark D. Kleiner, said the cruise line even alludes in its own advertising that the Fuacata entertainment service trend was developed in Miami.
Fertel described the lawsuit as a last resort.
"We tried to reason with NCL, but a mammoth cruise company doesn't seem to care what a group of local entertainers have created with the sweat of their own hard work," he said.
The suit, which the attorneys said they have filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, demands Norwegian be stopped from using the name and seeks unspecified monetary damages.
NCL is owned by Star Cruises of Malaysia. The company has not issued a statement on the lawsuit.