Some might remember Rick Ross being sued a couple years ago because his use the name “Mastermind.” A legal battle was initiated in 2015, a virtually unknown rapper who bears the name filed a lawsuit against Ross, Def Jam Records, and Universal Music Group. The allegations included trademark infringement, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation the name in question.
In 2013, Ross released his sixth studio album and named it “Mastermind.” The plaintiff, independent artist Raul Caiz, claimed to have been active under this name for 20 years and had the moniker trademarked. Songs by the independent artist were already in rotation on the radio. He asserted that Ross’ use the name caused confusion in the market, an impediment to his career. The record debuted at the top spot on Billboard 100. Then a tour the same name was announced. Ross began calling himself “Mastermind” during interviews, shows, and appearances. Others started using the nickname to refer to Ross from then.
In December 2016, a judge sided with Ross and his affiliates, after which Caiz motioned for an appeal. Last week, a jury overturned the original decision made by the judge and awarded the plaintiff his requested amount $2 million.