50 Cent recently filed a lawsuit against his antagonist Rick Ross, over a remix featured on Ross’ “The Renzel Remixes” mixtape.
|Rick Ross and 50 Cent gonna mess around be on the stand against each other!|
Rozay was unquestionably taunting his Queens, New York rival when he dropped the remix to “In Da Club,” which was billed as “featuring 50 Cent.”
The claim may seem like part of the battle in 50’s larger war with Rick Ross, but there’s more to it. Legally because 50 owns the “50 Cent” trademark, he has a responsibility to defend its misuse. If the rapper did not defend the trademark he could be accused of “Naked Licensing.”
That is when the owner repeatedly fails to control the trademark and lets third parties run wild with it without challenging its abuse. It’s exactly what happened to terms like “Cellophane” and “Escalator.”
Per the International Trademark Association:
Rights in a trademark can be lost through the action or inaction of the trademark’s owner. The most common way to lose rights in a mark is to stop using the mark with no intention to use it again. This is called “abandonment.” However, trademark rights can also be lost unintentionally. For example, in some countries, it is possible to lose rights in a mark by allowing third parties to use the mark without controlling how it is used. This can include failing to control the nature and quality of the goods and/or services offered under the mark by the third party.
Also, it’s not uncommon for 50 and his lawyers to track down people abusing any of G-Unit’s intellectual property.
50 Cent sued WorldStarHipHop.com and won a judgement over inappropriately associating his image with their site. Moreover, every month, 50 shells out about $50,000 in expenses related to his bankruptcy case.
One line item 50 is repeatedly billed for each month is to defend his G-Unit trademark in various European and African countries.
Here are five legal reasons why 50’s lawyers from Zeisler & Zeisler filed the lawsuit:
1. Rick Ross’ unauthorized use of 50’s identity, including the use of the rapper’s trademark and voice in Ross’ commercial, constitutes a false or misleading representation of fact that deceptively implies 50’s endorsement of Ross’ album and is a willful violation of Section 15 U.S.C. §1125(a)(1)(B)).
2. The 50 CENT trademark is a strong and distinctive mark that has been in use for over fifteen years and has achieved enormous and widespread public recognition and is thus “famous” within the meaning of Section 43(c) of the Lanham Act.
3. 50 Cent’s distinct and readily identifiable voice and stage name is known worldwide and closely associated with the rapper. As such, Rick Ross’ unauthorized use of Jackson’s voice and stage name in the “In Da Club” Remix invoked 50’s identity in the minds of the public.
4. Rick Ross’ use of the Mark, or the colorable imitation thereof, in connection with the distribution of the Remix and with the offering for sale and advertising of Defendant’s album, Black Market, has caused, and is likely to continue to cause, confusion in the minds of consumers about whether 50 Cent has authorized or endorsed the Remix and Black Market and about whether 50 is affiliated with or endorses such recording.
5. Rick Ross’ willful and unlawful use of 50 Cent’s identity in the commercial promotion of the Album has damaged 50 in an amount that is presently unknown, but which exceeds $2,000,000. As a result of Rick Ross’ wrongful conduct, 50 is entitled to injunctive relief and monetary damages according to proof at trial.