U.S. News | Rick Ross to Pay $2 Million in Trademark Infringement Case over ‘Mastermind’


Hip-hop artist Rick Ross and his label heads at Def Jam Records and Universal Music Group have been asked to pay $2 million in a trademark infringement case filed by Raul Caiz in November 2015 for unjust enrichment, misappropriation, usage of his stage name ‘Mastermind’ without his permission.

According to the lawsuit, Ross’s studio album is titled Mastermind and the plaintiff has been known as Mastermind for 17 years and the name trademarked accordingly.

Rick Ross has been taking hype of Mastermind since 2013 said the plaintiff. Raul Caiz sought $2 million in damages and an injunction to stop Ross from using the moniker, but Ross, 42, filed a countersuit seeking the dismissal of the case.

A Judge sided Ross in December 2016 and Caiz’s trademark was cancelled following the judge’s ruling that consumers would not immediately associate the term ‘Mastermind’ with him.

Last month, a panel of appellate judges issued their opinion, reversed the judge’s decision and awarded Caiz the $2 million. The main point of contention was whether Ross had made it clear that using the word “mastermind” naturally included musicians. The panel of appellate judges decided that Ross’ team had failed to do so.

Case Information:

Original Case: 2:15-cv-09044
Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Case #: 0:17-cv-55051
Type civil
Nature of Suit Trademark Infringement
Case Filed: Jan 12, 2017
Terminated: Jun 15, 2018
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About Nathaniel Adebayo 650 Articles
Nathaniel is a News Reporting Intern at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (NLIPW). He has a passion for writing, capacity building and social media marketing. He is a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated with BTECHAGRIC. He is a member of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) and the National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). Nathaniel has served as Editor-in-Chief for a number of magazines and as a contributor to various online repositories. Email: anathaniel@nlipw.com