San Diego – Roc Nation, the brainchild of rapper and businessman Jay Z, is being sued for trademark infringement by Volcom for use of a similar diamond-shaped logo. In addition to monetary damages, Volcom is requesting an injunction to stop the sale of any Roc Nation products bearing the diamond logo, that Roc Nation destroy any products with the trademark, and for Roc Nation’s trademark registration for the logo be cancelled.
Volcom, who owns the trademark registration for the diamond logo in connection with its “Youth Against Establishment” and “Let the Kids Ride Free” campaigns and has been using it since 1991, is specifically uneasy with Roc Nation’s use of the logo in conjunction with the sale of its Skullcandy headphones. The manufacturer and distributor of premium quality clothing, shoes, and accessories for young people stated in the suit that Roc Nation’s unauthorized use of the logo will likely cause confusion with consumers and lead consumers to believe that Volcom is involved with the Roc Nation/Skullcandy brands. It is contending that Roc Nation initially used the diamond logo in connection with the Roc Nation brand name but is currently using the logo by itself.
This case is a reminder of how important it is to be unique when choosing a trademark. Companies such as Shell, Apple, Nike, and Pepsi Co. all have been successful at creating brand identity with a distinctive logo. The more unique the logo is, the more likely it is that it will not conflict with another logo, and the less likely it is to be infringed upon.