The house DJ from Lausanne, who has used his pseudonym for the past 15 years, received a warning last week that he had only five days to come up with another name, online news site Le Matin reports.
“Initially, the name Tabasco was used as a joke. You do not think long term when you are 20. You do not think, one day I will be successful and this will be a problem,” the DJ told the news site.
The hot sauce maker, McIlhenny Company, contacted i-Tunes last week and advised them that all references to its Tabasco brand had to be removed.
DJ Radislav Tchalovski, known as Radi Tabasco to his friends, has become internationally renowned, playing alongside such names as David Guetta, Martin Solveig and Bob Sinclar.
Having decided not to risk a legal battle, he will now be known as Radi T. It is not clear, however, whether the intellectual property rights held by the hot sauce company actually extend to music.
Protection for the brand name was first filed in New Mexico, USA, in 1848. Then, as now, the brand could only be safeguarded against use in a similar arena where it has been active in the past five years.
But music and foodstuffs are arguably distinct and separate arenas.
Should he change his mind, it seems possible the DJ could win against the food giant, since trademark law does not prevent the use of trademarked words, Paris intellectual property specialist, Patrice de Cande, told Le Matin.
“A stage name does not meet the classic description of a trademark, it does not constitute the use of a trademark,” he said.