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LL Cool J wins trade mark lawsuit

Written by Mekael Rahman on 29 April 2019

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A hip-hop festival can no longer employ the same name as James Todd Smith’s (LL Cool J) 1985 hit single i.e. Rock the Bells, without the rapper’s permission. LL Cool J filed a lawsuit in November 2018 against Guerrilla Union, the promoters behind the said music festival. Recent reports confirm that the rapper has now won the lawsuit.

According to the initial suit, it was alleged that in 2004, Guerilla Union and its founder Chang Weisberg had filed an application to trade mark the title ‘Rock the Bells’. This was subsequently used for the festival and its web domain and social media channels. LL Cool J would later appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in order to cancel the abovementioned trade mark.

A California federal judge has recently decided that Guerrilla Union is precluded from utilising the title ‘Rock the Bells’ without the rapper’s consent. The promoters must permanently refrain from ‘manufacturing, transporting, promoting, importing, advertising, publicizing, distributing, offering for sale, or selling any goods or services’ under the aforementioned name, as LL Cool J is deemed the ‘exclusive owner’ of that trade mark. Moreover, by 10 May 2019, Guerrilla Union must also furnish all items bearing the rapper’s ‘Rock the Bells’ trade mark so that they may be destroyed.

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