Run-DMC in $50m trademark struggle

By Sam Edem
Darryl McDaniels
Darryl McDaniels

In a recent lawsuit filed in the District Court of Manhattan, a member of the pioneering rap group Run-DMC has sued for $50m (£40.7m) accusing retail giants of illegally using the group's name on clothing items.

Darryl "DMC" McDaniels disclosed that products sold by Amazon, Walmart and other stores violated federal trademark and New York competition laws.

Owner of the company, Run-DMC Brand, McDaniels made the allegations in a complaint filed in the US. The products include T-shirts and hats.

Run-DMC were part of the biggest rap acts of the 1980s, with global chart hits such as Walk This Way and It's Tricky. The group’s distinctive logo has become a fashionable theme on T-shirts, often worn by non-Run-DMC fans.

McDaniels said the brand was "extremely valuable" and had been legitimately licensed to various manufacturers including sportswear firm Adidas, itself the subject of one of Run-DMC's most successful songs. Amazon and Walmart are yet to issue statements on the lawsuit.

McDaniels co-founded the Run-DMC group in 1981 in the New York borough of Queens with fellow rapper Joseph "Run" Simmons, now an ordained Pentecostal minister known as Reverend Run.

The third of the group’s founding members was, DJ Jam Master Jay, who was assassinated at a recording studio in Queens in the year 2002.