Judge Denies Bobby Blotzer Appeal in Juan Croucier Ratt Trademark Infringement Case
Have we come to the end of the Ratt band name legal squabble? On Friday, Feb. 3 another key ruling took place in the ongoing battle between drummer Bobby Blotzer and Ratt's other classic lineup members Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Juan Croucier, with Blotzer being denied a request for reconsideration after the court ruled against him in a case concerning whether Juan Croucier had violated trademark infringement while touring with reference to the Ratt name.
That ruling last November was a big one for the trio of Ratt members as they viewed it as themselves reclaiming the name, being able to schedule shows using the moniker and continuing without Blotzer. But Blotzer was quick to point out that WBS, Inc., the company founded by the Ratt members to oversee their business issues, was the rightful owner of the name and that there were still legalities to be decided.
According to Leagle.com, in a new ruling, the judge ruled that WBS, Inc. did not have ownership in Ratt's marks and that the brand was still owned by the members who were part of the original Ratt agreement. Judge Dean D. Pregerson issued an order denying Blotzer's request, stating, "Although WBS relied upon a letter purportedly expelling Croucier from the Partnership in early 1997, prior to the assignment, that letter was signed by, and referred to the unanimous vote and consent of, only Blotzer and Pearcy. The Partnership Agreement, however, required the unanimous consent of all partners, other than the partner being expelled. By [Blotzer's] own admission, DeMartini remained a member of the Partnership at all times. Blotzer and Pearcy could not, therefore, have expelled Croucier without DeMartini's consent, of which there was no evidence."
The ruling continued, "In addition, Pearcy submitted a declaration stating that he never discussed Croucier's expulsion from the Ratt Partnership with Blotzer, never understood Croucier to have been expelled, and had no recollection of seeing the 1997 expulsion letter prior to this litigation. Pearcy's declaration stated that the letter 'is not the product of any agreement I reached with Robert Blotzer or anyone else.'"
Pregerson's ruling concluded, "The evidence is undisputed that Croucier was a founding partner of the Ratt Partnership. No reasonable factfinder could conclude that Croucier was ever expelled from the Partnership. It is undisputed that no partner in the Ratt Partnership could transfer or assign any part of his interest in the Ratt Partnership without the unanimous consent of the other partners. Croucier has never consented to the assignment of the Ratt marks to WBS or to anyone else. Accordingly, there is no triable issue with respect to the validity of the assignment of the Ratt marks to WBS. Because the assignment was invalid, WBS cannot make the threshold showing that it has an ownership interest in the marks, and its trademark claims fail. Summary judgment is therefore warranted in favor of Croucier and against WBS."
Upon the ruling last November, Pearcy, DeMartini and Croucier expelled Blotzer from their proposed plans to reunite, stating that Blotzer could only refer to himself as a "former member of Ratt."
Blotzer has continued to tour under the Ratt moniker in a band that included singer Josh Alan, guitarists Mitch Perry and Stacey Blades and bassist Brad Lang. Meanwhile, the trio of Pearcy, DeMartini and Croucier have begun booking festival appearances using the Ratt name. They've also played with another Ratt alum, guitarist Carlos Cavazo.
You Think You Know Hair Metal?
See Ratt in the Top 30 Hair Metal Albums