Compton Records, doing business as Ruthless Records and owned by N.W.A's Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright, yesterday filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Arnold E. White (Bigg A) and Eric Darnel Wright, aka Lil Eazy-E (technically Woods-Wright's step-son) who has allegedly launched a company with the same Ruthless Records name.
The suit claims that the defendants have over the last year infringed on the Ruthless Records trademark operating the website www.ruthlessrecordsinc.com, which uses the Ruthless name and sells Ruthless merch, despite what the filing claims is a rejected application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark Ruthless Records. The lawsuit describes the defendants’ conduct as “malicious, fraudulent, deliberate, and/or willful.”
The suit filed with Loeb & Loeb LLP, states that Compton Records owns the rights to the name Ruthless Records, the label founded by Eric “Eazy-E” Wright in Compton, California in 1986. The filing alleges that that label, whose acts included N.W.A, Eazy-E, and Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony, has been run continuously by Woods-Wright and her company Comptown Records, Inc., which also owns the N.W.A. trademark and which is also in dispute.
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 the suit doesn't set forth specific monetary damages, it calls on the defendants to pay punitive and statutory damages, costs of suit and attorneys fees and “further relief as the Court may deem just and appropriate.”
Billboard reached out to the defendants for comments but did not hear back at press time.