In a lawsuit filed November 15th, RZA (real name Robert Diggs) touted the long history of the Wu-Tang Clan mark and how its appearance on various goods and services “has come to represent enormous goodwill.” The suit also claimed the Wu-Tang mark is “unmistakably associated with [RZA] such that it constitutes part of his identity.”
Woof-Tang Clan’s owner, Marty Cuatchon, filed a trademark application for his company on June 8th. As the New York Daily News noted, the company also briefly sold T-shirts on its website that made explicit reference to late Wu-Tang rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s debut album, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. The shirt tweaked the album’s famous cover – a snapshot of ODB’s ID card for food stamps – to feature a dog named Bali in the rapper’s place. Another shirt parodied the cover of De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. Both have been removed from the company’s website.
Representatives for RZA and Woof-Tang Clan did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
In his opposition suit, RZA claimed the Woof-Tang Clan mark was “highly similar” to the Wu-Tang Clan mark in “sight, sound and commercial impression.” He added that the company “falsely suggests a connection” with those associated with the Wu-Tang Clan and argued the name is “likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, or to deceive consumers to falsely believe” the pet-care company is associated with the hip-hop troupe.
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Speaking with the Daily News Saturday, Cuatchon said he was unaware of RZA’s trademark challenge and declined to comment until speaking with a lawyer. However, he did say, “I am a fan. We walk dogs. I thought it was a good idea.”