Drake Merch Company Sued for Alleged Trademark Infringement Over ‘Members Only’ T-Shirt

drake merch lawsuit
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drake merch lawsuit
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An allegedly trademark-infringing Drake “Members Only” t-shirt for sale during the It’s All a Blur Tour. Photo Credit: Digital Music News

Drake’s Away from Home merch and production company is officially facing a trademark infringement lawsuit from the business behind the Members Only brand.

That business, JR Apparel World, submitted the straightforward complaint to a New York federal court yesterday. For those not up to speed on the apparel space, the ostensibly “iconic” and “world-famous” Members Only is said to have made a material commercial splash since its 1975 founding – particularly with a racer jacket featuring the brand name itself.

According to the plaintiff, which claims to have bought Members Only in 2012, this jacket has appeared in all manner of films and television programs over the years. Moreover, the item “has also been popularized by a wide variety of past and present entertainers and celebrities,” including but not limited to Frank Sinatra, “Andersen Cooper,” “Logal Paul,” and Drake himself, per the hastily penned complaint.

In other words, as JR Apparel World sees it, the Members Only jacket is quite a big deal. Closer to the music space, Drake released a track entitled “Members Only” on last year’s For All the Dogs. And according to the suit, the song title has factored prominently into a t-shirt sold during Drake’s It’s All a Blur Tour.

Notwithstanding the item’s alignment with the namesake Drake song, the plaintiff contacted Live Nation in April of 2024, expressing the belief that the product violated its (JR Apparel’s) Members Only trademarks.

That Drake dropped “Members Only” as a song “‘does not obviate the likelihood of confusion or give Live Nation and/or Drake license to use our client’s’” trademarks on the t-shirt, the filing party and its counsel relayed in the letter.

Live Nation, which isn’t a party to the suit, seemingly went ahead and forwarded the message to Drake’s aforementioned Away from Home. A representative for the latter company followed up days later and, as described by the legal text, the parties “attempted to resolve their differences amicably” into early June.

Predictably, given the complaint, the two-month-long discussions failed to bring about an agreement.

As the plaintiff views things, the “irreparable damage” it’s suffering stems from the initial sale of the t-shirt during the tour, its likely sale during the concert series’ potentially forthcoming European leg, and the alleged sale of counterfeit items online.

On top of an expected demand for damages and an order barring the alleged trademark infringement from continuing, the lawsuit is calling on Drake’s company “to deliver to JR Apparel for destruction all” the allegedly infringing t-shirts.

This past November, Rod Wave took aim at alleged peddlers of fake merch. Separately, while related headlines have died down in recent weeks, the Drake-Kendrick Lamar feud doesn’t appear to have been resolved – at least publicly.