LL Cool J says knock it off — in a new lawsuit filed against the founders of the Rock the Bells festival.
Rapper and “Lip Sync Battle” host LL Cool J — real name: James Todd Smith — has filed suit against Guerilla Union, accusing the company of trademark infringement over the use of Rock the Bells, which is also the title of the rapper’s 1985 track from his debut album “Radio.”
In the suit filed in federal court in California on Tuesday, the rapper contends that “Rock the Bells” has “acquired distinctiveness and significant secondary meaning, such that Plaintiff owns trademark rights in ROCK THE BELLS.”
According to the suit, LL Cool J has filed applications to register the trademark Rock the Bells, for multiple uses, the majority of which have either been allowed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Meanwhile, the suit says beginning last year, the rapper successfully petitioned the PTO to cancel multiple registrations of the mark held by Guerilla Union, contending that it had abandoned use of the mark.
However, the suit contends, Guerilla Union “is still making limited, passive use of its ROCK THE BELLS mark without Plaintiff’s permission or authorization.” The suit specifically mentions a “parked website” bearing the phrase Rock the Bells, as well as a Twitter handle, Facebook account and MySpace account.
According to the suit, this June, LL Cool J sent a letter to Guerilla Union requesting the transfer of the domain name as well as the social media accounts, but Guerilla Union “has not responded to or confirmed receipt of any of Plaintiff’s letters.”
TheWrap has reached out to Guerilla Union for comment on the suit.
“As a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s wrongful acts, Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer and/or is likely to suffer damage to his trademarks, business reputation, and goodwill,” the suit reads. “Defendant will continue, unless restrained, to conduct its business and offer goods and services using the ROCK THE BELLS mark or other trademarks confusingly similar thereto and will cause irreparable damage to Plaintiff.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages, as well as an injunction restraining Guerilla Union from improperly using the Rock the Bells mark.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.