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,” lead singer Anthony Kiedis said in a statement.
The series stars David Duchovny as a novelist suffering from writers’ block and a midlife 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 production companies Twilight Time Films and Aggressive Mediocrity.
The suit seeks a permanent injunction barring Showtime 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 TCA 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.