Run-D.M.C. has filed a lawsuit against Walmart, Amazon, Jet and a number of others for more than $50 million over alleged trademark infringement on products using the iconic hip-hop group’s name and logo without permission.
The suit was filed Thursday (Dec. 29) in New York and also names a number of the companies selling the products through those online marketplaces, as well as 20 John Does, saying they “trade on the goodwill of RUN-DMC.” It explains that some of the allegedly infringing products claim to be “RUN-DMC styled products” such as fedora hats and square-frame sunglasses that use the group’s name in their title or description but not the logo. Meanwhile, others more blatantly use the group’s famous logo on shirts, purses, patches and other products.
Defendants Amazon, Walmart and Jet are accused of selling and advertising products that infringe on the trademark and goodwill of Run-D.M.C. by partnering with a number of different entities that sell the allegedly infringing Run-D.M.C. products through their marketplaces. These products, Run-D.M.C. states, “confuse the public as to the source of origin and endorsement of its products.
Run-D.M.C. is seeking $50 million with interest, as well as attorney’s fees, accounting of all sales of the defendants’ products that were advertised as being related to Run-D.M.C. or directly use its trademark and an injunction and restraining order against sales and promotion of these products.
The lawsuit also cites previous licensing agreements for the Run-D.M.C. trademark to show its worth, including one for $1.6 million to Adidas for a line of sneakers. It also states the Run-D.M.C. brand has produced revenue in excess of $100 million from the intellectual property associated with the trademark “RUN-DMC” since its inception in the 1980s, including the sale of music, music publishing, concerts, merchandising and endorsement deals.
Run-D.M.C. asserts the allegedly infringing products have diluted the group’s brand as arguably the most well-known group in the history or hip-hop, saying the defendants have “harmed RUN-DMC’s ability to utilize, market, promote and sell products with its registered trademark.”
Last month, Amazon filed its first ever lawsuits against merchants selling counterfeit items on its marketplace.