Independent rapper Raul Caiz sued the Hustlin’ hitmaker and his label bosses at Def Jam Records and Universal Music Group in November, 2015 for trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and misappropriation, claiming Ross began using his stage name, Mastermind, without his permission.
Ross’ sixth studio album is titled Mastermind, and, according to the lawsuit, he has been referring to himself using the moniker since 2013. Caiz took issue with its use because he has been known as Mastermind for 17 years, during which he has had the name trademarked.
He was seeking $2 million in damages and an injunction to stop Ross from using the moniker, but the 42-year-old subsequently fired back with a countersuit and asked for Caiz’s case to be dismissed.
In December, 2016, a judge sided with Ross and tossed the case. Caiz’s trademark was also cancelled after the judge ruled consumers wouldn’t immediately associate the term “Mastermind” with him, but Caiz has now won an appeal and has been awarded his request for damages.