By Ryan Velez
A New York dog-walking company is calling itself the Woof-Tang Clan. Sounds like a cute tribute that is good for a chuckle, right? The NY Daily News reports that not everyone is laughing though, including actual Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, who is suing the Brooklyn-based company for ripping off the name.
RZA, born Robert Diggs, filed a trademark opposition suit against the Woof-Tang Clan, a dog-walking service.
In court papers, Diggs said the name and logo of the Wu-Tang Clan have been “unmistakably associated” with the Staten Island hip-hop group since 1993. Part of the issue with the smaller company’s move is trying to file a trademark for their name, which takes what could easily be a joke into murky legal territory.
The trademark application filed by the Woof-Tang Clan on June 8 is a violation of the multiple registrations already owned by the Wu-Tang Clan, the court papers said. By all accounts, Woof-Tang owner is a bonafide fan of the rap group, selling a t-shirt that displays a dog named Bali on a blue-and-yellow identification card.
The shirt's called the “Old Dirty Bali — Return to the 36 Chambers,” a nod to Wu-Tang member Old Dirty Bastard’s solo debut album in 1995, “Return to the 36 Chambers,” which featured his face on a yellow-and-blue ID card for food stamps issued by the City of Brooklyn Zoo. Another shirt pays tribute to the cover of De La Soul’s album 3 Feet High and Rising.
When the NY Daily News reached out to Cuatchon, he mentioned that he was aware of the legal challenge, but declined to make any comment until he could get some formal advice. “I am a fan,” he said. “We walk dogs. I thought it was a good idea.”
The company offers services including dog sitting, with descriptions like, “We are available to have sleepovers with your pup at your apartment so no routines are broken. We’re courteous and responsible, as long as we’re in agreement that Nas’ Illmatic is the greatest album of all time.” Ironically, should Woof-Tang be able to make it through this legal issue above water, all of this newfound attention may actually play to the business’s benefit.