Published Tue, January 25, 2022 at 9:00 AM EST
Wu-Tang Clan's iconic W is one of the most recognized logos in all of music. With that popularity comes the unavoidable possibility of trademark infringement in the form of bootlegging. Wu-Tang Clan front man RZA is suing e-commerce stores and other entities for trademark infringement for the production and distribution of merchandise bearing Wu-Tang Clan trademarks.
According to the lawsuit: “Defendants deceive unknowing consumers by using Wu-Tang trademarks without authorization within the content, text and/or meta tags of their e-commerce stores to attract to various search engines crawling the internet looking for e-commerce stores relevant to consumer searches for Wu-Tang Clan products.”
The counterfeiters are believed to have originated in China or another foreign region that practices minimal trademark enforcement.
Amazon, eBay and other e-commerce sites are being asked to remove advertisements from the companies in question. RZA seeks all profits and damages for trademark infringement or an award of $2 million for every usage of the Wu-Tang Clan trademarks.
Wu-Tang trademarks, especially the iconic black and yellow W have remained the most popular in Hip Hop merchandising since their 1992 debut. Wu-Tang Clan D.J. Ronald Bean aka D.J. Mathematics originally conceived a severed dreadlocked head with the words “Protect Ya Neck” dripping in blood, but the group members agreed that it was over the top. Pressed by a last-minute deadline Mathematics created the legendary W logo, RZA explained in a Power 106 interview in 2017. Bootlegging merch in music has always been met with direct responses from musicians especially in Hip Hop. Whether bootleggers have been the subject of album skits or real life physical violence, the fight against counterfeiters continues in the digital age.