Volcom sues Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for trademark infringement

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ARCHIE MARCO

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  • Volcom sues Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for trademark infringement

Volcom sues Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for trademark infringement

Refusing to put up with trademark infringement any longer, Volcom, a Californian-based action sports apparel and entertainment company, filed a civil suit against the hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z’s record label and management company Roc Nation, on 29 March in California’s Central District court.

Volcom claims that Roc Nation’s diamond-shaped logo has a close resemblance to the stone-mark design that they have been using ever since their incorporation in 1991. It has registered numerous variations of the logo with the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office.

The logos in the spot-light are five-sided diamond silhouettes and have close similarity, which led to the confusion for the consumers.

The logo under fire by Volcom was employed by the Roc Nation in 2008 and was initially accompanied with the words “Roc Nation”. However, the words were removed from it in 2009 and the diamond shaped logo started appearing exclusively to brand the company.

“While Roc Nation appears to have initially used the diamond only in combination with the words ‘Roc Nation' it is now using the diamond logo on its own, causing a likelihood of confusion among consumers,” Volcom's complaint reads.

Volcom admits that its’ primary target market included those interested in snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding. However, the brand gained more recognition and popularity once it diversified into music and entertainment.

The similar logos lead to an unfair competition due to a likelihood of possible confusion among consumers, as both the companies offer goods that compete directly with each other.

This issue is of utmost importance to the apparel and entertainment brand as Volcom claims that similar retailers are dealing in products of both the companies.

Allegedly, several notifications were sent to Jay-Z’s company to cease the continued use of the disputed logo, but the latter kept on ignoring them. Failing to get any satisfactory response from the Roc Nation, Volcom decided to take the matter to the court.

Claiming to have invested over a US$100,000,000 in marketing and managing the logo, Volcom seeks compensation for the losses suffered due to trademark infringement. Other damages sought include the prohibition of using the disputed inverted-diamond shaped logo on the Roc Nation’s items and disposal of all advertising items bearing the disputed logo.

This is not the first time that Jay-Z has found himself in a legal trouble because of the diamonds. In 2005, Diamond Dallas Page, a wrestler, filed a suit against him.  Page alleged that the diamond ‘hand sign’ thrown by the rapper and mogul to represent the Rock-A-Fella “Dynasty” bore too much resemblance to his “Diamond Cutter” hand signal. The matter was eventually settled a couple of years later after Jay-Z agreed to compensate Page with an undisclosed amount of money.