Run-DMC Sues Amazon, Wal-Mart for $50M
Members of the rap group Run-DMC are suing Amazon.com and Wal-Mart for $50 million for trademark infringement. The suit, filed last Thursday in federal court in New York, accuses the retailers of manufacturing, marketing and selling products with the group's trademarked name, including glasses, hats, T-shirts and wallets. Run-DMC says in the suit that it has made $100 million on trademarked products over the years, including a $1.6 million sneaker deal with Adidas. "The brand is extremely valuable," the suit said.
Total Retail's Take: Trademark infringement and counterfeit merchandise is a growing problem for online retailers, and one that Amazon is particularly familiar with. Run-DMC is following the likes of other companies (e.g., Apple) that are suing in order to recoup lost revenues and tarnished brand reputations as a result of their products being associated with counterfeit merchandise. In fact, Amazon has made fighting fakes a major goal for this year. Until online retailers and marketplaces get better control of the merchandise they're selling — specifically where it's being sourced from — I think lawsuits like the one from Run-DMC are going to become more commonplace.