Orange County – Rap artist turned business mogul Shawn Carter, known widely as Jay Z, has had a lawsuit thrown at his popular clothing company, ROC Apparel Group, for alleged trademark infringement. The company that filed suit, HoodLove LLC, alleges that a T-shirt featured in the Rocawear clothing line improperly displays its own “Hood Love” trademark.
HoodLove, which filed its eponymous trademark in 2006, claims that Rocawear’s unauthorized use of the words on its T-shirt has generated unjust profit for Jay – Z’s retail brand. The company, which prides itself on its dedication to helping low income communities across the country, is demanding that it be awarded all profits that Rocawear has received from the sale of the shirt. The complaint also requests an injunction that would force Rocawear to pull the shirt from retail stores and to stop selling it.
It is unclear at this point how Jay Z, who famously grew up in low income, government assisted housing in Brooklyn, will respond to the claim. The shirt in question features the words “Hood Love” prominently across the front, with lyrics from Jay Z’s song “What More Can I Say?” from his famed The Black Album displayed underneath.
The registration for “Hood Love,” while filed in 1996, was not federally registered until 2010. The Rocawear shirt in question, however, appears to have only been in production as part of the line’s most recent collection. Hoodlove LLC has a registered trademark for the name in connection with T-shirts as well as baseball caps, hats, shirts and sweatshirts. Rocawear, in comparison, owns more than a handful of trademarks relating to its own brand, none of which resemble the “Hood Love” phrase.
This recent lawsuit adds to a number of problems that ROC Apparel has seen as of late, with a recent drop in sales accompanied by company layoffs and other unrelated lawsuits filed against it. The apparel group is one of rap icon Jay Z’s many business ventures as he also serves as part owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and is founder of several recording labels, the trendy 40/40 night club and sports agency Roc Nation Sports.