Run-DMC sues Amazon and other retailers for trademark violations

A member of the hip-hop group said in his complaint that Amazon, Walmart and their business partners sold illegitimate Run-DMC merchandise.

Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
Expertise E-commerce, Amazon, earned wage access, online marketplaces, direct to consumer, unions, labor and employment, supply chain, cybersecurity, privacy, stalkerware, hacking. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie Award for a single article in consumer technology
Laura Hautala

Darryl McDaniels, member of hip-hop and rap group RUN-DMC, at the "Children Uniting Nations Second Annual National Conference" in Washington DC. McDaniels filed a trademark lawsuit against Amazon, Walmart and Jet.com on Thursday.

Douglas Sonders, WireImage for BMF Media Group

That RUN-DMC gear you bought online might not be legitimate.

That's the claim of one of the hip-hop group's founders in a lawsuit filed Thursday in a New York federal court. The suit, filed by Darryl McDaniels, targets Amazon, Walmart and Jet.com and their partners for trademark infringement.

"The products sold by the Defendants confuse the public as to the source of the products and suggests that RUN-DMC endorses the products," the lawsuit complaint alleges. "The Defendants are trading on the goodwill of [RUN-DMC]."

The suit highlights the challenges online retailers face when they allow third parties to sell products through their websites. Amazon itself has filed a lawsuit in Washington state court trying to curb the sale of counterfeit items on its own platform. What's more, Apple said in October that around 90 percent of "genuine" Apple products being sold on Amazon were fake in a lawsuit filed in a northern California federal court against a third-party seller.

However, Thursday's lawsuit claims Amazon sells and markets some of the fake RUN-DMC items itself in addition to fulfilling orders made to its partners.

Amazon and Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Walmart completed its acquisition of online retailer Jet.com in September.

The counterfeit RUN-DMC items include shirts, patches, wallets, hats and glasses, according to the complaint. "The Defendants have earned substantial revenue due to their unlawful use of Plaintiff's trademark," the complaint reads.

Run-DMC Trademark Complaint by CNET News on Scribd