Rap Duo New Boyz Sued By Newsboys for Trademark Infringement
Orange County – Popular rap duo New Boyz have recently found a measure of success in the hip-hop genre, but that success has come with a cost.
The media brought on by a series of chart topping hits has brought the two rappers to the attention of popular Christian band the Newsboys, and their manager Wesley Campbell. Although the two groups have found popularity in two opposite music genres, The Newsboys assert that the rap group is using a name that both creates confusion among listeners and damages their carefully constructed Christian reputation that is based on clean lyrics and biblical principles. Consequently, the Christian band filed a lawsuit against the rap duo for trademark infringement last week.
In the non-Christian move, Rappers Earl “Ben J” Benjamin and Dominic “Legacy” Thomas were named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in District Court of Middle Tennessee in Nashville. The Newsboys claim that the rap group is using a name that is too similar to its own trademarked name and the result is brand confusion among fans, listeners and potential fans. The documents filed last week list multiple instances of actual confusion among listeners, consumers, prospective customers and other observers, who mistakenly assumed a connection between the rap duo and the gospel group. The Christian group is seeking a court order preventing further use of the confusingly similar name and damages for lost profits caused by the confusion.
The Newsboys began using their name in 1985, and have found huge success in the Christian music arena on a platform of wholesome, family-friendly music. With a policy of using only clean lyrics and promoting evangelism, the group filed to protect their name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1993. The group received their trademark registration in 1994 and went on to release a number of Christian chart toppers. In contrast, the hip-hop duo’s music has supported an image of the rap scene, with popularity based on promiscuity and partying. A decision in the Tennessee case is highly anticipated by fans and group supporters alike. A win for the Christian group could mean a new name and identity for the rap duo, but a loss could be devastating for the Gospel group who already feels their reputation is tarnished.
Posted in: Trademark Infringement