Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Caiz v. Roberts

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 1, 2017

RAUL CAIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM LEONARD ROBERTS II, aka MASTERMIND aka RICK ROSS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, INC., DEF JAM RECORDS, INC., MAYBACH MUSIC GROUP, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER Re: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES [60]

          HONORABLE RONALD S.W. LEW SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Currently before the Court is Defendants William Leonard Roberts II aka Mastermind aka Rick Ross (“Roberts”), Universal Music Group, Inc. (“Universal”), Def Jam Records, Inc., (“Def Jam”), and Maybach Music Group, LLC's (“Maybach”) (collectively, “Defendants”) Motion for Attorneys' Fees (“Motion”) [60]. The Court, having reviewed all papers and arguments submitted pertaining to this Motion, NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS: Defendants' Motion for Attorneys' Fees [60] is DENIED.

         II. BACKGROUND

          A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff Raul Caiz (“Plaintiff”) is a hip-hop music artist. Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 1. On December 24, 2005, Plaintiff applied for registration of the trademark “Mastermind” for use in Classes 009 and 41. Id. at ¶ 25. It was registered on July 16, 2013. Id. Roberts is also a hip-hop artist. Id. at ¶ 3. On January 7, 2013, Roberts announced the title of his sixth album would be “Mastermind.” Id. at ¶ 28. Roberts went on to refer to himself as “Mastermind, ” claiming it as his own and creating confusion in the marketplace. Id. at ¶ 29. Universal, Def Jam, and Maybach reviewed, approved, and assisted in the creation and distribution of infringing materials which had the “Mastermind” mark. Id. at ¶ 31.

         Plaintiff alleged Defendants wilfully infringed his trademark rights by releasing an album entitled “Mastermind, ” titling Roberts' tour “Mastermind, ” and by Roberts taking on the persona of “Mastermind, ” causing confusion in the marketplace. Id. Plaintiff claimed that the value of his trademark diminished because people mistakenly believed Plaintiff released the “Mastermind” album that Defendants had already released. Id. at ¶ 7. Plaintiff alleged he used the name “Mastermind” since 1999 in various ways, including: purchasing recording equipment, recording music, performing at venues, obtaining synchronization deals for multiple songs, making a music video, and receiving a licensing deal to use a song as a mall jingle. Id. at ¶ 32.

         Plaintiff's claims against Defendants included Federal Trademark Infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114, a violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), Federal Trademark Dilution, Unfair Enrichment, Unfair Competition, and Misappropriation. Id. at ¶¶ 39-65. Defendants filed a Counterclaim of cancellation of the federal trademark registration under 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a) and 15 U.S.C. §§ 1119, 1064. Countercl. ¶ 5. Defendants alleged the “Mastermind” mark is invalid because it is a generic and/or merely descriptive term that lacks secondary meaning. Id. at ¶ 12. Defendants requested the Court cancel Plaintiff's registration of the “Mastermind” mark pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1119. Id. at ¶ 18.

         B. Procedural Background

         On November 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court [1]. On February 16, 2016, Defendants filed an Answer [18]. On February 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Counterclaim against Plaintiff [22]. On March 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Answer to the Counterclaim [23]. On October 7, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [44]. On December 15, 2016, this Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [58]. On December 16, 2016, Judgment was entered in favor of Defendants [59]. On December 30, 2016, Defendants filed the instant Motion [60]. On January 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed its Opposition [61]. On January 17, 2017, Defendants filed their Reply [64].

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         1. Exceptional Cases

         “The court in exceptional [trademark] cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party.” 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). The interpretation of what constitutes an “exceptional case” is a question of law. Earth ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.