Rapper Rick Ross may not be out of the woods yet -- the identity theft case brought against him by former gangster 'Freeway' Ricky Ross is headed to appeals court after having been dismissed in recent months.

'Freeway' maintains that Rozay has been making oodles of money off of his name and likeness primarily, and believes that he could have another chance at winning the case.

In the first leg of the court proceedings, Los Angeles Superior Court judge Rita Miller has denounced the idea that the rapper stole 'Freeway''s name to garner a wider fanbase by use of the gangster's street credibility.

Miller simply feels the argument wasn't brought to court soon enough to be eligible -- rapper Ross has been a hip-hop star since 2005. 'Freeway' was released from prison in 2009.

'Freeway' argues that Rozay is consistently using his likeness to make a living -- even now -- so the ruling shouldn't stand.

"California Appeals Court briefs are due in a few weeks," Ross tells The Hollywood Reporter. "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."

Watch Rick Ross' '3 Kings' Video