Here’s a legal filing with attitude.
The son of deceased N.W.A rapper Eazy-E has fired back in a lawsuit filed by the company owned by Eazy-E’s widow, claiming that the company “made false, material misrepresentations of fact in connection with its applications” for the trademarks of N.W.A and Ruthless Records.
Eric Darnel Wright (aka Lil Eazy-E) and his associate Arnold E. White were sued by Tomica Woods-Wright’s company, Comptown Records, in August. The lawsuit alleges that the pair’s website Ruthlessrecordsinc creates “the impression that [their company] NWALLC is the ultimate owner of Ruthless’ trade names and marks. Defendants state: ‘Ruthless Records Inc. is an exclusive branding and marketing agency for NWA Entertainment and signed artists under NWA Entertainment.” Comptown alleges that those assertions are “intentionally false and misleading.”
According to the suit, Comptown Records took over ownership of Eazy-E’s label Ruthless Records after the rapper’s death in 1995, and has “continuously used the trade names, trademarks, and service marks RUTHLESS, RUTHLESS RECORDS, and N.W.A. “
But in legal papers filed this week, Eazy-E’s son calls B.S. on those claims, saying that Comptown gave up the right to those marks through abandonment, and in any case Comptown’s application for the marks was marred by false claims.
“Upon information and belief, Plaintiff made false and material representations with the intent to deceive the United States Trademark Office,” Wright’s counterclaim, filed Tuesday in California federal court, reads.
In his answer to the complaint, Wright also accuses Comptown of “fraudulent activity prior to obtaining the registrations” for the marks.
Eazy-E, real name Eric Wright, founded Ruthless Records in 1986 along with Dr. Dre and Jerry Heller in order to publish releases by Eazy-E and N.W.E. The label went on to release albums by numerous successful artists. Eazy-E died in 1995 from complications of AIDS.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.