Ice Cube suffers defeat in legal battle against Robinhood
O’Shea Jackson, known professionally as Ice Cube, has lost his lawsuit against online trading company Robinhood. This becomes clear from a judgment issued by Judge Laurel Beeler of the California Northern District Court on September 20, 2021.
Let’s recall that Ice Cube sued Robinhood after the company used his image and a paraphrase of a line from his song, “Check Yo Self.” The graphic and caption illustrate Robinhood’s online article describing a market correction for tech stocks. The original line from Ice Cube’s song is “Check yo self before you wreck yo self,” which Robinhood paraphrased as “Correct yourself before you wreck yourself.” “Check yo self” is also Ice Cube’s catchphrase.
He claims that by using his image and catchphrase, Robinhood created the false and deceptive commercial impression that Ice Cube endorses Robinhood’s services and violated the Lanham Act. 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(A).1 The court previously dismissed the case for lack of standing because the plaintiff did not plausibly plead that Robinhood’s use of Ice Cube’s identity suggested his endorsement of Robinhood’s products.
On September 20, 2021, the Court ruled that the amended complaint does not cure the previous complaint’s deficiencies. The court thus granted Robinhood’s motion to dismiss.
In particular, the Judge noted that the complaint does not sufficiently plead an injury in fact because Robinhood’s use of Ice Cube’s image and phrase does not suggest Ice Cube’s endorsement of Robinhood’s product.
The Judge said:
“Ice Cube is a celebrity. If the unauthorized use of his image suggested his endorsement of Robinhood, then he would suffer injury in fact. But the image and phrase are not an endorsement: they illustrate a point in the newsletter about a market correction in tech stocks”.
The new allegations do not add facts that create any likelihood of consumer confusion, the Court finds. The dismissal is with prejudice.