Charity Sues Adidas Over Missy Elliot "Respect ME" Campaign

Break the Cycle, a charity aimed at stopping domestic violence, filed a $10 million lawsuit Thursday (March 16) accusing German sporting goods maker Adidas-Salomon AG of improperly using its name and logo on a line of clothes by rapper Missy Elliott.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the charity alleges that Adidas used its trademark, name or logo on more than 40 products in its Missy Elliott "Respect ME" clothing line without a formal agreement authorizing their use.

Elliott, who was once a spokesperson for the charity, launched the clothing line in 2004 with an understanding that a percentage of the proceeds would be donated to Break the Cycle, the court papers said.

Elliott and Adidas announced the partnership and creation of the "Respect ME" line in April of 2004, with hopes of tapping into

Elliott's fan base and the women's urban market. Elliott's partnership with the German sportswear giant, is the first with an entertainer since Adidas' landmark deal with Run-DMC in 1986.

This marks the second time the "Respect ME" clothing line has hit a legal snag.

In Feb. 05, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark complained that Elliott's logo, which the superstar rapper/producer designed herself, infringed on the Royal monogram.

In that instance, Adidas withdrew the line in Denmark due to the threat of legal action from the Danish royal household.

At press time, a U.S.-based spokesperson for Adidas could not immediately be reached for comment.