Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Rapper Rick Ross wins lawsuit over "Mastermind"

New Jersey residents who are fans of rapper Rick Ross may be familiar with his 2014 album "Mastermind"After Ross released the record through Universal Music Group, he went on a tour called that name and incorporated the term 'Mastermind" into his public persona. Another musician who claimed that he owned the trademark for Mastermind subsequently took Ross to court.

The plaintiff was another musician named Raul Caiz. Caiz claimed he used the name Mastermind throughout his 17-year music career, and he owned a trademark for the name. Caiz was seeking millions of dollars in damages from Ross and Universal Music Group. However, a California court ruled in favor of Ross in a motion for summary judgment.

The judge also issued an order to cancel Caiz's trademark for Mastermind. According to the judge, consumers would not be likely to associate Mastermind with Caiz. An attorney for Ross commented on the ruling, saying that he was very pleased that the court had ruled in Ross' favor and canceled Caiz's trademark. Ross was previously sued in 2012 by a man claiming he owned the name Rick Ross, but the case was dismissed.

It may be very important for performers to register trademarks for their stage name and other identifying words or phrases. An attorney may be able to help a performer to determine what names they should trademark and how to protect the trademarks from infringement. If another party uses a performer's registered trademarks, an attorney may help the performer to take legal action to stop the trademark infringement.

Source: Rolling Stone, "Rick Ross Wins Trademark Lawsuit Over 'Mastermind' LP," Jon Blistein, Dec. 20, 2016

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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