Run-D.M.C. files $50 million trademark infringement suit against Wal-Mart, Amazon
Attorneys for the Run-D.M.C. brand have filed a $50 million lawsuit against Amazon Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Co., Jet.com and a few other outlets for trademark infringement and trademark dilution, among other things.
First reported by TMZ Thursday, the legal filing was made in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The complaint, which includes numerous images of Run-D.M.C.-inspired products as they appeared on Amazon’s and Wal-Mart’s respective sites, alleges that the retailers are advertising, selling, manufacturing, promoting and distributing multiple Run-D.M.C. styled products. Eyewear, hats, T-shirts, wallets and patches are among the items referenced, some of which are said to use the Run-D.M.C. trademark. The complaint charges that the products being sold “confuse the public and suggest that Run-D.M.C. endorses the products.”
Homegrown in Hollis, Queens by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell, Run-D.M.C. helped define hip hop culture in the Eighties. Mizell, better known as “Jam Master Jay,” was shot and killed in his recording studio in Queens in 2002. Simmons, whose brother is the serial entrepreneur Russell, is widely recognized as “Reverend Run.”
Run-D.M.C. has a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The lawsuit claims that the Run-D.M.C. brand has produced revenue in excess of $100 million from intellectual property tied to sales of music, concerts, merchandising and endorsement deals since its start in the Eighties.
Run-D.M.C.’s legal team are citing trademark infringement and trademark dilution violations, and have requested a temporary restraining order to prevent employees from directly or indirectly “promoting, advertising, conducting, participating in and receiving or making any payments for any Run-D.M.C. product” being sold.
Run-D.M.C.’s attorney Christopher Brown of Brown & Rosen did not respond immediately to a request for comment Thursday, nor did executives at Run-D.M.C., Amazon or Wal-Mart.