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Nipsey Hussle Estate Settles Trademark Suit With Crips LLC

May 18, 2021, 4:30 PM

A suit by the estate of rapper Nipsey Hussle against the Crips gang over use of the “Marathon Continues” trademark was dismissed by the Central District of California after the parties reached a confidential settlement.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the case Monday on the motion of the parties “in consideration of a negotiated settlement.”

Hussle was the professional name of Ermias Asghedom, who was murdered in 2019. He owned federal trademarks covering “The Marathon” and “The Marathon Continues"—the names of two of his mixtapes—and related “Marathon” marks covering clothing, charity services, and film production, among other things.

Hussle’s brother Samiel Asghedom, a.k.a. Blacc Sam, as the administrator of Hussle’s estate, sued Crips LLC—a company the gang said it created to “shine up a sullied reputation” and “repurpose” the organization—for trademark infringement.

Crips LLC allegedly applied for a federal trademark in May 2019 covering “The Marathon Continues” for a wide range of categories—including youth sports programs, community organizing, music performances, and reality television—and “represented that its first use in commerce was April 1, 2019, the day following Nipsey’s untimely murder,” according to the complaint.

The complaint says the Crips apologized and promised to abandon the application after public criticism, but filed a new application later that year for the mark covering hooded sweatshirts, shorts, and other clothing.

That application has since been abandoned, but the earlier application continues, according to the complaint. Asghedom has opposed the application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Asghedom alleged that Crips LLC’s use of the “Marathon” name is likely to cause consumers to wrongly presume they’re connected with Hussle and the brand.

Judge Dolly M. Gee granted the motion to dismiss.

The Cochran Firm represents Asghedom.

The case is Asghedom v. Crips LLC, 2021 BL 182693, C.D. Cal., No. 20-cv-9340, 5/17/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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