Although it's pretty difficult to imagine how rapper Rick Ross's name wasn't at the very least partially inspired by the infamous drug kingpin "Freeway" Rick Ross, that fact wasn't enough for a Los Angeles judge to consider a suit against the Def Jam rapper over the rights to his name.
"Freeway" Rick (The Real Rick Ross) showed up in court today to hear the ruling on the second lawsuit he's filed against the rapper, Jay-Z, Def Jam Records, Universal Music Group and others, for trademark violations, unfair competition and misappropriation of his publicity rights and, for the second time, his case has been thrown out of court, reports TMZ.
As previously reported, in November 2010 a federal judge in L.A. threw out the first $10 million lawsuit Freeway Rick Ross filed against the rap star, born William Roberts, and his label because they determined that "Freeway" Ross didn't have enough evidence of secondary usage by the Miami rapper. After the defeat, "Freeway" Ross regrouped with new legal representation from California-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP in the hopes that they'd give him a better shot at taking down the music goliaths. However, the results were similar, with this judge ruling that Ross didn't have a case because he filed outside of the two year statute of limitations.
"I should've filed a lawsuit while I was still in prison," "Freeway" Ricky explains to BET.com. "There's a law that technically if the person publishes the name again, republishes the name, that's another violation. So we argued that every time he put out a new album that's a republication of the name, or every time he does a different magazine article that's a republication because that's in a different magazine, that's a new republication… She [the judge] said that she wasn't certain that that's how the republication law read. She said that ours was a single publication and once he started using the name, the first time it ever played on the radio in suburban Miami was the date that she used."
However, "Freeway" Rick Ross was behind bars at the time of the rapper Ross's ascension, only learning about the latter when he covered an issue of XXL magazine in 2009 that made its way into the prison well past his start in music. According to the ex-drug kingpin, the judge just wasn't open to taking his imprisonment into consideration.
"The judge drew a line in the sand," he explains. "There is law that the judge can take some issues into consideration but she wasn't willing to do it at all. She didn't know if she was absolutely correct and suggested we could take it up on an appeal but we asked her if she would allow us to take it to a jury trial and she denied that right."
"Freeway Ross" isn't giving up on taking down the music giants. "We're going to regroup," he promises. "We intended on appealing the Supreme Court but, you know, it's also a money issue. They had 8 or 9 lawyers in court today. As you know, Universal has very deep pockets and we have to see which way we're going to go from here."
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(Photos from left: Wikicommons, Shareif Ziyadat/PictureGroup)