Back in October, Demitri Brown and Donna Evans-Brown filed a not-at-all-frivolous lawsuit in Dallas County District Court claiming that Christopher Bridges, aka Ludacris, had stolen their trademark and illegally used it to build his Atlanta-based record label/entertainment empire.
The dispute centers around "Disturb the Peace," which Brown trademarked through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1988. That was more than a decade before Bridges established Disturbing Tha Peace, his record label.
But Brown's trademark had been cancelled in 2004, whereas Bridges' claim to "Disturbing Tha Peace" were and are still in effect. Brown objected to the cancellation of his trademark, saying that he had never abandoned the trademark as Bridges asserted, but that only came seven years later, in 2011. That was proof enough for the USPTO to decide that he had, in fact, abandoned the trademark, and that Bridges should retain the "Disturbing Tha Peace" trademark.
The whole thing gets mired in the arcane details of copyright law, but the specifics of the case, particularly the fact that Ludacris has built a multi-million dollar entertainment enterprise around "Disturbing Tha Peace" while Brown and Evans-Brown run a miniscule operation, seem to tip the scales heavily in Ludacris' favor. So, one might assume that Bridges would simply seek to have the case dismissed.
Not quite. TMZ cuts through all the legal detail to note that Ludacris has fired back, arguing, per the headline, that "'Disturbing Tha Peace' Belongs to Me, Son."
And yes, in case you were wondering, Bridges' legal filing is exactly as thrilling as TMZ makes it sound.
"Some or all of the claims in Plaintiffs' Original Petition are based on improper legal conclusions and speculative factual allegations," it states at one point, "and, therefore, the Petition fails to state claims upon which relief may be granted."
"The doctrine of laches bars some or all of those claims."
OH! HE WENT FOR THA LACHES!!!
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Then, he goes straight for the jugular, stating "alleged entertainment services offered under the Disturb the Peace mark are not of the same quality as those provided by Bridges under the Disturbing Tha Peace family of marks."
THROW THEM BOWS, LUDA!
All of that leads to a request that a judge order Brown to stop using Disturb the Peace and pay Bridges attorneys fees and damages that might have arisen from unsuspecting listeners who associate Brown's vastly inferior music to that produced by Ludacris.
The case bounced back and forth between state and federal court, winding up earlier this week to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis.