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Jay-Z Sues Boston Red Sox Player David Ortiz for Stealing Club Name

Although some parts of this case exceed the jurisdiction of Boston personal injury attorneys, many Boston injury lawyers certainly know the names Jay-Z and David Ortiz. The former is an international rap star and the latter is a local sports hero.

But what's the connection between the two?

Last month, rap mogul Jay-Z sued Boston Red Sox baseball player David Ortiz for the latter's use of the name 40/40 Clubs.

I've worked on several cases in trademark law before and one thing I know is that there may sometimes be greater issues that initially meet the eye. Sometimes, a trademark case may have hints of tort law to it. As a result, it's probably fair to say that this story isn't 100% out of the jurisdiction of a Boston personal injury attorney.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, is suing Red Sox player David Ortiz for alleged misappropriation of the name of Jay-Z's popular sports bar. The suit was filed in Manhattan Federal Court and names as plaintiff Jay-Z as well as his business partner, Juan Perez.

The lawsuit seeks $5 million dollars in damages and calls on David Ortiz to refrain from using the name 40/40 for his Dominican Republic night club.  

Jay-Z's lawyer claims that the nomenclature was no accident.

"David Ortiz was at the night club at least twice, and certainly knew of it," Jay-Z's lawyer said. The lawsuit even goes one step further, showing photographs of David Ortiz partying at 40/40.

In baseball lingo, the term 40/40 refers to forty home runs and 40 stolen bases. But in all reality, Ortiz has only stolen 10 bases throughout his baseball career and has never been part of the 40/40 club of baseball players.

So why the name, then?

According to Reuters, the lawsuit accuses David Ortiz of appropriating the goodwill and reputation associated with Jay-Z's club, causing "marketplace confusion and damage".

While the crux of such a lawsuit rests in intellectual property issues, there might always remain underlying tort liability for commercial misappropriation and unfair competition. And in Jay-Z's claim, there are significant monetary damages he is seeking.

If you feel that someone has stolen your business name, you may have more than a trademark suit at hand. Although each case is presumably different, there can be crossover with tort and trademark law. As a result, speaking with one of many Boston injury lawyers in the metro area may prove to be beneficial. For more information, please visit our Related Resources links.

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