Rapper and businessman Kanye West and Walmart have gotten into a trademark battle.
Walmart has opposed a new logo that West has filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, claiming that the logo resembles its own “Spark” logo. On April 21, the Bentonville retailer filed a notice of opposition against the rapper and his La Palma, Calif.-based company Yeezy LLC to prevent the registration of the logo.
West filed to have the logo registered with the Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 3, 2020. In the filing, the logo is described as “eight dotted lines, each comprising three totally shaded circles, with a total of 24 circles, arranged at equal angles as rays from a sun.”
The logo, according to the filing, would be used for a range of activities and products, including clothing; retail store services; music, audio, image and internet streaming; record and music production; music recordings, metal modular homes; non-metal modular homes; and construction of modular homes.
On Dec. 22, 2020, Walmart filed a 90-day extension request to file the notice of opposition, stating that the company believed it had good cause for the request. The request was filed by Erica N. Goven of Kutak Rock in Omaha, Neb.
In its notice of opposition, Walmart claimed that the similarity of the two logos would result in confusion and would be deceptive to consumers. Based on the Walmart filing, the sun logo utilized by the company has been in use since 2007, and Walmart argued that the public has “come to recognize Opposer’s Mark [Walmart logo] associated with Opposer, and Opposer has gained substantial goodwill in Opposer’s Mark.”
Due to this claimed public recognition, Walmart argued that West’s logo could cause deception that violated the Trademark Act. “The fame and reputation of Opposer’s Mark is such that if Applicant’s Mark is used with Applicant’s applied for goods and services, an affiliation with Opposer will be assumed by the consuming public,” Walmart’s filing reads.
Allowing the use of West’s logo, according to Walmart, would dilute the value of its own trademarked logo. Walmart’s attorneys also claimed in the filing that West’s good and services are “exceedingly numerous” in the trademark application, and that he did not demonstrate a bona fide intent to use the logo “in connection to the goods and services contained within the Applicant’s Trademark Application.”
West’s fashion company, Yeezy, is a multi-billion dollar business, according multiple media reports. Bloomberg reported in 2020 that West’s sneaker brand was worth up to $3 billion. The New York Times reported in June 2020 that West had signed a 10-year deal with Gap to develop a clothing line called Yeezy Gap to be introduced in 2021. Gap hopes for the partnership to generate $1 billion in annual sales, according to the report.
Top image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons