Court orders rapper to stop rolling with luxe TM

 

rolls royceRobert D. Davis, a rapper who on stage partly went by the moniker Rizzy and more, won’t be rolling any longer with references to a luxe automobile brand.

That’s because a federal judge in New Jersey has ruled in favor of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd in a trademark infringement and dilution action against Davis, aka “Rolls Royce Rizzy.” The court barred Davis from using “Rolls Royce” as his stage monkier and from employing the company’s registered “RR” logo on his website and on t-shirts. How did the rapper get run over with this decision?

Default judgment

Plaintiff Rolls filed an unopposed motion for default judgment, partially granted by the federal court. U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty entered a default judgment on the claim of trademark dilution and unjust enrichment. The court found that Rolls had a clearly established, distinctive mark that is well known.

Meantime, the judge said that Davis had begun using the mark after it was famous, and the rapper blurred and tarnished it. How? The judge pointed to, as plaintiffs complained, “an advertisement for an event ‘hosted by Rolls Royce Rizzy,’ entitled ‘Call of Booty,’ which features a scantily-clad woman and advertises a ‘Booty Shaking Contest.’” The judge also frowned on the mark’s links to Davis’ “hit singles” with profane titles. Based on that information, the court found that plaintiffs had met the final element to establish their prima facie case.

The judge declined to enter a default judgment on the claims of unfair competition and trademark infringement. McNulty sought to consider both sides of the case, even though Davis never answered plaintiff’s complaints. After analyzing all the Lanham Act factors, the judge said that “plaintiffs have not established a likelihood of confusion due to Davis’ use of the marks. That the risk of any confusion is fatally undercut by (1) the sophistication of Rolls-Royce customers and (2) the dissimilarity of the products at issue. In short, plaintiffs have not established any real risk of consumer confusion.”

Under the order the court slapped on Davis, he not only cannot use the name “Rolls Royce Rizzy” or the RR Badge, he also must destroy or remove all reference to the Rolls Royce mark he has or is now using.

For those who might be unacquainted with the defendant’s music, here’s a NOT SAFE FOR WORK video illustrative of his rap: