Run–DMC’s Darryl McDaniels Files $50M Suit Against Walmart, Amazon for Trademark Infringement

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Darryl McDaniels (Benjamin Thomas/Flickr)

One of the founders of iconic rap group Run–DMC is suing Walmart, Amazon and other sellers over alleged trademark infringement. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels brought the suit against the sellers because the companies are trading items bearing the band’s logo and name without permission.

McDaniels is listed as the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York Thursday, Dec. 29, according to Reuters. As the owner of 2007-registerd Run-DMC Brand LLC, the artist is seeking a minimum of $50 million for the purported unauthorized sale of various merchandise.

McDaniels said defendants Amazon, Walmart and various other retailers associated with the companies — including Walmart-associated Jet.com — have misled customers into thinking T-shirts, glasses, hats and other items were approved by the group. Additionally, he said the alleged infringement on the “extremely valuable” brand means the companies are violating state unfair competition and federal trademark laws by selling the reputation of Run-DMC’s name.

By the defendants selling Run-DMC gear, the retailers have damaged the brand, which, according to the lawsuit, has generated more than $100 million in revenue since it was established in the ’80s, NBC News reported.

Defendants Walmart and Amazon, as well as Jet.com, have yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit.

Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons, the late DJ Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell and McDaniels founded Run–DMC in Queens, New York, in 1981. According to their official website, the group’s third album, “Raising Hell,” released in 1986, went platinum one month after its release with 1 million copies sold. The record included such hits as “Walk This Way,” “My Adidas” and “It’s Tricky.” Since Mizell’s death in 2002, the remaining members have moved on to other ventures, including books, a ministry and a reality television series for DMC, and a solo music career and reality show for Reverend Run.

In 2009, Run-DMC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the second hip-hop group to receive the honor, behind Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five two years earlier.

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