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Foul-mouthed DJ Deadmau5 - aka Joel Zimmerman - made news recently for yet another high profile trademark dispute. He's already engaged in an epic IP battle with Disney over his mouse ears logo. This time, he drew the ire of Ferrari.
The Italian automaker was none too pleased that Deadmau5 modified his Ferrari 458 with a rainbow and Nyan Cat themed wrap. The super car was subsequently dubbed the "Purrari".
Deadmau5 then proceeded to take his 458 on the Gumball 3000 road rally across Europe.
After the race, he put the "Purrari" up for sale on Craigslist.
Ferrari got fed up with Deadmau5's antics, and it sent him a sharply worded cease and desist letter accusing him of trademark infringement. Deadmau5 didn't disclose the letter, but he specifically mentioned the custom badges and floor mats as being problematic on his Twitter feed.
[caption id="attachment_4193" align="aligncenter" width="640"]
Purrari Custom Badges[/caption]
In addition to the trademark issue, Deadmau5 might have also breached the "Right of First Refusal Agreement" that he entered into with his dealer. Tim Cushing of Techdirt writes that all Ferrari customers are required to give Ferrari dealers the right of first refusal if the customer decides to sell. This contractual requirement is designed to stop customers from flipping their vehicles.
To appease Ferrari, Deadmau5 took down the ad and removed the wrap. He then took to Twitter to sum up his thoughts in typically blunt fashion:
Despite his run-in with Ferrari, Deadmau5 has not soured on super cars. He recently took delivery of a McLaren 650S Spider. The McLaren has 641 HP, rockets to 60 MPH in less than three seconds, and has a maximum speed of 207 MPH. So what kind of trouble is Deadmau5 getting himself into with his new toy? None so far. In fact, he started giving Uber rides in Toronto last week.
While Deadmau5's legal woes might make one question his judgment (if not his sanity), there is a growing school of thought that he is really a guerrilla marketing genius. Iain Connor of Marketing magazine contends that Deadmau5 has a talent for "brandjacking" â taking advantage of a big brand's equity while positioning himself as the underdog. By taking on behemoths like Disney and Ferrari, Deadmau5 has expanded his fan base and enhanced his personal brand. In the process, he has become one of the World's richest DJ's.
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