Los Angeles, CA – Trademark lawyers for entertainer and musician Ray Charles’ estate filed a trademark infringement, Lanham Act unfair competition (15 U.S.C. §1125), and commercial appropriation of name and likeness lawsuit at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles. The complaint is filed against Ryan Corey Robinson, who is purportedly Ray Charles’ son, and Mary Ann Den Bok – an attorney – who is Mr. Robinson’s mother. The complaint alleges that Ray Charles created an estate plan that would provide his children a certain amount of cash and The Ray Charles Foundation would receive Ray Charles’ intellectual property rights, including his name, voice, likeness, image and biographical material.
Plaintiff alleges that since Ray Charles’ death, “Defendants have used the threat of negative publicity and false public statements to attempt to extort funds from The Foundation and its licensees … Specifically, in or about September of 2006, Defendants began threatening The Foundation and licensees, purporting to be representatives of Ray Charles Legacy Corporation, LLC, an entity that did not exist. Defendants also contacted third parties and falsely claimed that the Ray Charles Legacy Corporation, LLC held all rights to the name, likeness, and the right of publicity of the late Ray Charles in an effort to obtain a commercial advantage based on those representations.” The case is titled The Ray Charles Foundation, Inc. v. Ray Charles Legacy Corporation, CV08-02810 JFW (C.D. Cal. 2008).