Imagine waking up every morning knowing that someone is not only using your government name and life story, but also profiting from them. That's the nightmare Freeway Rick Ross, the former drug kingpin is living.
In his ongoing battle to wrestle his name away from the Miami rapper born William Leonard Roberts II, Freeway Rick was in a Miami court last week, to give his deposition along with Roberts in their trademark dispute over the name Rick Ross according to AllHipHop.
Freeway Rick initially filed a $10 million lawsuit in the United States District for Southern California against Roberts, Def Jam and Universal Music Group accusing them of copyright infringement and profiting off of his name illegally. The case was dismissed.
"In support of his trademark claims, Plaintiff alleges that his name was well known in the drug trade and by law enforcement segments of the urban crime, rap and black comity because he did business as Rick Ross, until he was arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated in federal prison," said the court. "Because this illegal activity cannot be used to establish secondary meaning, such allegations do not provide support for Plaintiff having a valid trademark for his name."
Freeway Rick appealed the case in state court and it is now moving forward.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Freeway Rick alleges Roberts was initially shook when he thought goons might be coming his way, but now that he sees Freeway Rick doesn't live his life that way anymore he's become disrespectful.
"[He] treated me as if I had done something to him," Ross said. "When he first came to me, he didn't know what position I was going to take, if I was going to send a word out to those young cats out in L.A. or not. That put a little fear in his heart. But now that he knows I'm not carrying it like that, he's a little more courageous right now. "[He] has my name tattooed on his hand."
Freeway Rick has turned his life around and doesn't like the message Roberts is sending kids.
"The first thing that I want to do is I have to help eliminate and erase the mindset that I helped to create," Ross said. "I know I have a lot of work to do, but the first step is to eliminate this guy from going around telling people how great it is to sell drugs."
The case is continuing.