Nearly three decades ago, Eazy-E founded the Ruthless Records imprint to launch the audacious group N.W.A. The fate of the groundbreaking record label is now wedging a divide between Eazy's widow Tomica Woods-Wright and his son Eric Darnell Wright (aka Lil Eazy-E).
According to Page Six, Tomica has been overseeing Eazy-E's imprint since his untimely passing in 1995. On Wednesday (Aug. 15), however, the widow filed a trademark lawsuit against Lil Eazy-E claiming that her stepson and Eazy's longtime friend Arnold White (aka Bigg A) have been infringing upon the Ruthless Records name. The lawsuit alleges that Lil Eazy and Bigg A have been selling Ruthless merch via their website, ruthlessrecordsinc.com, under the guise of being affiliated with the original trademark.
In the suit, Tomica claims Lil Eazy and Bigg A first attempted to trademark Ruthless Records Inc. last year and were rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office due to the name being too similar. The filing also alleges that that label has been run continuously by Tomica as well as her company, Comptown Records, Inc., which also owns the N.W.A trademark.
The dependent’s website, however, similarly lays claim to the Ruthlesss name, stating the following: “Founded by legendary gangsta rap artist Eazy-E, Ruthless Records Inc. is a globally recognized brand, developing music and marketing in a whole new way. Our old-school outlook mixed with cutting edge technology makes Ruthless Records Inc. a leader in the music business. Eazy-E’s first-born son and longtime friend are carrying on the legacy that started it all. With Eric Lil Eazy-E Wright Jr. as President, Ruthless Records Inc. is on a mission to bring music back to life in a whole new way for a whole new era."
While Tomica describes her stepson's actions as “malicious," the suit doesn't set forth any specific monetary damages but rather calls on the defendants to pay punitive and statutory damages in addition to attorney fees.
Hopefully, Eazy-E's family can come to a resolution sooner than later.
(Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)