Court rules against Bobby Blotzer’s company in Ratt row
California court sides with bassist Juan Croucier in Ratt trademark case – gives naming rights back to him, Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini
The US District Court in California has ruled against Bobby Blotzer’s WBS Inc. in a case over Ratt trademark infringement issues.
It’s the latest twist in the long-running legal dispute involving members of the band, with Blotzer claiming in 2015 that he could use the Ratt name following a five-year trademark fight.
But a California judge has now ruled against his company WBS Inc. who claimed to own the Ratt brand.
When Blotzer secured the name last year, he made several demands that original member Juan Croucier stopped calling his project 'Ratt’s Juan Croucier' and refrained from advertising himself as “the other voice of Ratt.”
But court papers show that five members of the band – Blotzer, Croucier, Warren DeMartini, Robbin Crosby and Stephen Pearcy – formed the Ratt Partnership in 1985, so that “no partner could transfer his interest without the unanimous written consent of all partners.”
When WBS Inc. sent Croucier a letter sacking him in 1997, only Blotzer, Pearcy and DeMartini were members – and because of that, they insisted they didn’t need his consent when transferring the Ratt trademark from the partnership to WBS.
However, the court found the letter to be insufficient as it was signed only by Blotzer and Pearcy and there was “no evidence that DeMartini ever consented to Croucier's expulsion.”
The court say as there’s no evidence that Croucier was expelled, “WBS cannot make the threshold showing that it has an ownership interest in the marks, and its trademark claims fail.”
Part of the latest round of legal wrangling also involves ex Ratt manager Rob Hoffman, who had sole administration of the band social media accounts. Blotzer asked Hoffman to turn over all logins and passwords to WBS Inc. in 2015 – but was then asked not to by DeMartini.
Despite Hoffman wishing to remain neutral, WBS filed a suit against him, and two weeks later, DeMartini announced he would take legal action against Blotzer for control of WBS.
The papers add: “Even assuming that WBS owned the social media accounts to which it demanded access, no reasonable trier of fact could conclude that Hoffman's refusal to turn over the logins and passwords was wrongful.”
As a result of the court rulings, Pearcy, DeMartini and Croucier have expelled Blotzer from the partnership and taken control over the Ratt name.
A press release reads: “Blotzer thus has no further interest in the Ratt name and may now only refer to himself as a ‘former member of Ratt’ as per the partnership agreement.
“DeMartini, Pearcy and Croucier look forward to continuing to tour as Ratt and thank their fans for all the ongoing support.”
In August, Pearcy hinted at a possible Ratt reunion when the singer was pictured with Croucier and DeMartini at the Los Angeles birthday party of former RIP magazine editor Lonn Friend.