The controversial rapper 6ix9ine, currently in federal prison awaiting sentencing in a racketeering case, started his career under the name "Tekashi 6ix9ine" (here is a 2014 article that uses that name, for example). Both he and the media that reports on him have used the names "6ix9ine" and "Tekashi 6ix9ine" nearly interchangeably over the years when talking about him.
And yet, until this past February, 6ix9ine didn't own the rights to his name. The trademark of "Tekashi69" (along with "Scumgang69") for entertainment-related usage was owned by Peter "Righteous P" Rodgers and "Scumbag Chad" Foster, both former 6ix9ine affiliates who are now associated with the group City Morgue. The pair applied for the trademarks in late 2015, and they were officially approved in the fall of the following year.
Rodgers is City Morgue member Zillakami's older half-brother, and managed 6ix9ine during his early career. Foster was, until a late-2016 falling out, a close friend of 6ix9ine's. "Chad was Tekashi's best friend back in the day, even before 6ix9ine was really a rapper," producer Jordan Granados, who produced early 6ix9ine tracks like "ScumLife" and "Shinigami," explains.
In October of 2018, 6ix9ine began legal proceedings to get Rodgers and Foster's rights to use "Tekashi69" trademark revoked. His attorney William Samuels argued in a "Petition for Cancellation" that P and Chad had never used the mark. He also argued that 6ix9ine had right to it because it had:
Been continuously and extensively used, advertised and promoted nationwide and internationally for more than 4 years, in connection with various of Mr. Hernandez’s entertainment-related goods and services... Mr. Hernandez has sold more than 4 million records in the U.S. and worldwide under the 6ix9ine Marks. His collaboration with culturally significant artists and musical acts, including Nicky [sic] Minaj, Kanye West, and the recording artist known as 50 Cent, demonstrates and confirms Mr. Hernandez’s fame and success.
As part of the proceedings, letters were sent to Rodgers and Foster to see if they wanted to dispute 6ix9ine's claim. The letters were returned undelivered, and so on Feb. 20, 2019, their registration was officially canceled.
So what happens now? In the claim's paperwork, 6ix9ine claims to already have "exclusive right to commercialize his name(s), images, signature, likenesses, and other indicia, including specifically his names 6ix9ine and Tekashi69." But he now has the opportunity, if he wants, to attempt to file for the trademark.
Attempts to reach Samuels for clarification were unsuccessful.