As previously reported former drug dealer and prisoner LA based Ricky “Freeway” Ross brought an unorthodox trademark related legal action against Miami Rapper Rick Ross for exploiting his name and even suggested a criminal conspiracy between the record label and the rapper to profit from the use of his image.
His central claim was that his name was well known in drug dealing circles and law enforcement segments of the urban crime, rap and black community, trading as he did under the name ‘Ricky Ross’
In addition to suing for the use of his image he also claimed trademark rights in his name since acquiring celebrity status as a drug kingpin. The original complaint is reported here by the MiamiTimes, however since filing his application Ricky Ross had withdrawn some of his original claims.
A federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the $10 million claim by the convicted drug dealer sharing the same name as rapper Ricky Ross.
The Judge reviewed the alleged trademark violations under the US trademark legislation, the Lanham Act, ruling that the plaintiff had no prospects of winning a trademark infringement claim or a claim on the grounds of unfair competition.
The Judge found that “Freeway” Ricky Ross was unable to demonstrate trademark rights to his name.
The Judge declined to address Freeway Ricky Ross’ image or publicity rights claims as they are called in the US which protect the names and likenesses of celebrities, as Ricky Ross had pursued what was a State based action in a Federal Court.
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