Run-DMC sues Wal-Mart, Amazon for $50 million

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NEW YORK — Run-DMC filed a $50 million lawsuit in New York accusing Wal-Mart, Amazon, Jet and other retailers of selling products that traded on the rap group's name without permission.

A founder of the group and owner of the Run-DMC brand, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, was listed as the plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in the Southern District of New York.

The complaint said the defendants are "advertising, selling, manufacturing, promoting and distributing multiple products" in the group's trademarked name. The products include glasses, hats, T-shirts, patches, wallets and other items.

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Wal-Mart stores through the years

Sam Walton's original store, Walton's Five and Dime, in Bentonville, Arkansas. 

(Photo by user Bobak via WikipediaCC BY-SA 2.5)

Family shopping at a Wal-Mart store. (Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images)
MILFORD - JUNE 1: Shoppers checking out in a Walmart store on June 1, 1996 in Milford, PA. (Photo by Waring Abbott/Getty Images)
Daniel Deloria shops at Walmart in Oxnard with his family. A new ordinance proposed by Supervisor John Flynn would limit the number of food items at Walmart and Costco in Oxnard.. (Photo by Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Asda and Wal-Mart open their first 24 hour super store in Bristol.This follows one year after the US giant Wal-Mart's 6.7 billion pound takeover of Asda.The revamped US style store is 60% cheaper. (Photo by Alex Smailes/Sygma via Getty Images)
389833 01: (FILE PHOTO) This file photo dated May 25, 2001 shows customers entering and exiting a Wal-Mart store in Quincy, MA. Six women filed a lawsuit against the retail giant June 20, 2001, claiming that the employer routintely discriminates against its female workers. They are seeking class-action status on behalf of Wal-Mart''s 700,000 current and former female employees, which, if granted, would be the largest discrimination case of its kind in US history. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Exterior of Walton's five and dime, a Walmart museum and tourist attraction site of Walton's first store near Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. (Photo by Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ROLLING MEADOWS, IL - JULY 26: A man leaves a Wal-Mart store July 28, 2003 in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Wal-Mart said that sales in the month of July at its U.S. stores that were open at least one year could top expectations. Warm weather has helped turnaround slower retail sales following the cooler weather of May and June. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Wal * Mart Supercenter Store front entrance and parking lot in Southeast USA (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
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The lawsuit alleged that the retailers have improperly profited, diluted and harmed the Run-DMC brand, which it said has generated more than $100 million in revenue since its inception in the 1980s.

It called the Run-DMC brand "extremely valuable," and said it is the subject of several licensing agreements, including to endorse Adidas sneakers from Adidas

The lawsuit alleges defendants are confusing consumers into believing that Run-DMC endorsed their products and are trading on the goodwill associated with the name, in violation of federal trademark and New York unfair competition laws.

Run-DMC was founded in New York in 1981 by McDaniels, Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "DMC" and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, who was fatally shot in his Queens recording studio in 2002. McDaniels and Simmons later announced that the group had officially disbanded.

The group's hits include "King of Rock, "It's Tricky," and "Can You Rock It Like This."

In 2009, Run-DMC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming only the second rap act to be awarded that honor.

Amazon and Wal-Mart, which also owns Jet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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