Former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page is suing Jay-Z, claiming the hip-hop heavyweight has illegally adopted his trademark hand gesture -- the "Diamond Cutter" -- as his own.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Federal Court on Friday, accuses Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records of trademark and copyright infringement as well as misappropriation of the hand symbol. Page is seeking an injunction (meaning Jay-Z would be prohibited from using the gesture) and unspecified monetary damages.
Page's lawyer, George Gallegos, said Diamond Dallas (born Page Falkinberg) brought the legal action against the Def Jam CEO in order to protect his livelihood.
"People would come up to him and ask him if he was letting Jay-Z use it or if he had licensed it to him," Gallegos said of the symbol, which he claims his client created in 1996 and copyrighted years ago. "People [would also] say he's using Jay-Z's sign."
On the cover of Page's new book, "Yoga for Regular Guys: The Best Damn Workout on the Planet!," he can be seen sporting a T-shirt of the hand gesture. On his Web site, the same image can be seen above the words "A symbol of excellence since 1996."
Gallegos said he first took the hand-gesture matter directly to Jay's lawyers, but they were not receptive, saying that the real issue was how Diamond Dallas was using Jay's symbol inappropriately. Gallegos said he provided the rapper's people with magazine covers, various Dallas merchandise and video footage dating back to the mid-1990s showing Page throwing the "Cutter."
"If you look at [Jay-Z's] 'Encore' video you can see fans using the 'Diamond Cutter' sign, and in video of Diamond Dallas ... if you only looked at the fans from both those tapes, you'd think it's the same person performing," Gallegos said. "Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records use this symbol to promote themselves, to promote their artists, to promote their music and to promote their fanbase. People have come to recognize [Page by this symbol], and the way that it's being used by Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella is taking value away from it and creating confusion upon the public."
Jay-Z's attorney, Michael Guido, could not be reached for comment. Calls to Jay-Z's label for comment were not returned.