Eminem And Dr. Dre Facing Lawsuits

By | July 16, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Eminem, who is also known as Slim Shady, is presently facing a lawsuit from a Nevada-based sports apparel company over the usage of the name Shady Ltd. for the rapper’s new clothing line, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Shady Inc., a Nevada company that sells t-shirts and hats in Nevada stores and via the Internet, maintains that they’ve been using the name since 1999 and that they had it trademarked in 2001. The company filed a lawsuit in January in Nevada federal court after learning of Eminem’s intentions to launch a clothing line using the Shady name. Eminem has since launched Shady Ltd and his clothing is now available in more than 400 stores.

Thomas Hession, an attorney for Shady Inc., told the Detroit Free Press, “We were first and used it in good faith. We did not know at the time that Eminem was planning clothes. We have three young guys who started a business, nurtured it and brought it up, and Eminem is now seeking to prevent them from carrying on their business. We’ll win because we’re right.”

Eminem’s lawyer, Manny Pokotilow, believes Eminem will prevail in court because the rapper has been using the Shady name since 1996 and in 1999 the rapper registered the Slim Shady trademark. Pokotilow explained, “We consider this a very frivolous claim that has been made. It is what I would call a hit suit, which is in order to take advantage of somebody’s celebrity status….That anybody would think that ‘Shady’ on a t-shirt would come from any source other than Marshall Mathers III (or Eminem) would be kind of difficult to believe.”

The case is presently ongoing but the decision will likely be based on the likelihood of confusion between the two brands in the marketplace.

In related news, Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Eminem are facing a $10-million copyright infringement lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. Jacques Loussier, a French jazz musician, claims that the dynamic duo used his music in the song “Kill You” from Eminem’s 2000 release the Marshall Mathers LP, according to the New York Post.

Loussier and his attorneys are attempting to dig up previous copyright infringement lawsuits brought against Dr. Dre as proof that the producer is a “serial plagiarist.” Attorney Martin Garbus told the Post, “When Mr. Young hears music he likes, it is his habit to take it.”

Dr. Dre’s legal team is attempting to stop the introduction of the previous lawsuits on the grounds that the plaintiff is attempting to re-litigate claims that have nothing to do with the present case.

Dr. Dre was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by George Lucas for using the THX sonic boon sound from Star Wars on his 1999 release Dr. Dre 2001. Dr. Dre was also ordered by a Los Angeles court to pay $1.5-million to a London-based publisher in May for using their bassline in his song, “Let’s Get High.”

Calls to Dr. Dre’s representatives were not returned at press times.

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