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Samuel Asghedom, the brother of Nipsey Hussle and administrator of the late rapper’s estate, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit Oct. 10 against Tia Hollis and the Crips LLC, in U.S. District Court in California.
According to the 20-page complaint, Asghedom, who also goes by Blacc Sam, is suing the Crips LLC and Hollis — a managing member who owns a majority in the Crips LLC, which is not associated with the LA street gang — for trademark infringement, false advertising and unfair competition over their use of the catchphrase “The Marathon Continues.”
Asghedom says his brother started the Marathon Clothing line in 2011 based on his catchphrases “the marathon” and the “marathon continues” from his two mixtapes he released under All Money Inc. Nipsey subsequently trademarked the phrases for use on his clothing line. In 2012, he opened his Marathon Clothing store in the Crenshaw Plaza, selling T-shirts, sweaters, beanies, hats and sweatshirts, among other items. He also obtained trademarks for his catchphrases that he put on his clothing line. On March 31, 2019, Nipsey was fatally shot in front of the store.
According to the lawsuit, in 2019, the Crips LLC filed an application for a trademark for use of the phrase “The Marathon Continues” on education manuals for community organization and gang prevention. After learning of the filing, Asghedom initiated a notice with the trademark office opposing the Crips’ use of the mark, but he alleges they have continued to use the phrase for commercial purposes.
He is asking the court to order the Crips LLC and Hollis to destroy all unlawful products and to compensate Nipsey’s estate for any advertising and other expenses to dispel public confusion.
“Since Nipsey’s murder the City of Los Angeles, and his many fans around the world have mourned his loss and honored his memory with love in respect,” the estate’s attorney, James A. Bryant II, tells Billboard in a statement. “However, despite the outpouring support to Nipsey’s memory and his family, there are those who still seek to profit off his loss and tarnish his legacy all for personal and selfish gain. Because of these vultures, Nipsey’s family and his estate will do everything in their power to preserve and protect Nipsey’s legacy by any and all means, including taking legal action against those who would violate his memory.
“We also wanted to dispel the misconception that there is some form of dispute that Crips, LLC or Tia Hollis are in any way connected with any of the many Crips gangs throughout Los Angeles,” the statement continues. “Tia Hollis, has also formed the company Bloods, LLC. So for absolute clarity, despite the name of the Company, Crips, LLC, who has sought to improperly register mark “The Marathon Continues”, which was filed literally a few weeks after Nipsey’s death, and allegedly first used in commerce on April 1, 2019, a day after Nipsey’s murder, they are not affiliated with any organized Crips gang, and this should not be viewed as an attempt by the Crips gang to make an underhanded move against Nipsey or his memory following his death.”
UPDATE: This story originally associated the Crips LLC with the notorious Los Angeles street gang of the same name.