A convicted Los Angeles drug kingpin is taking his namesake legal battle against rapper Rick Ross to an appeals court after losing an identity theft spat on Wednesday (20Mar13).

'Freeway' Ricky Ross, who spent years behind bars for his part in a drug empire in the 1980s and 1990s, claimed the hip-hop star, real name William Leonard Roberts Ii, stole his name and likeness, but a judge dismissed the case in court, declaring the plaintiff had waited too long to make an official complaint.

Plaintiff Ross, who was released from prison in 2009, was told that his namesake launched his career in 2005 - and therefore had every right to continue using his moniker.

The former drug king is now planning to appeal the decision, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "Judge believes that even a new contract still falls under Single publication, our position is that it is republication as in Nestle v. Chistophe. We feel good about our case. This is classic republication as to all defendants there was consistently new music, management decisions and product made. The statute of limitations was never meant to be used to hide defendants actively infringing with new decisions and campaigns."