Cross-Office Team Obtains Summary Judgment in 'Mastermind' Trademark Case

Atlanta, Ga. (May 9, 2019) - Atlanta Partner Leron E. Rogers, and Los Angeles Partners Craig Holden and Joshua S. Hodas, Ph.D. recently obtained summary judgment in favor of their music industry clients, including Grammy award-winning artist William Leonard Roberts (known professionally as Rick Ross), Universal Music Group, Def Jam, and Maybach Music.

The plaintiff was a hip-hop artist who owned federal trademark rights to the term “Mastermind,” and alleged that the defendants had infringed on the trademark when they released Rick Ross’ sixth studio album, titled “Mastermind.” However, the court agreed with our arguments that the defendants’ use of the term mastermind was protected under the First Amendment and Fair Use doctrine, dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims, and entered judgment in favor of the defendants.

Earlier this year, Lewis Brisbois secured summary judgment for Rick Ross in a high-profile lawsuit brought by Curtis James Jackson III (known professionally as 50 Cent). Learn more about that case here.

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