Why Walmart Is Going After Yeezy’s Logo

Walmart’s intellectual property arm is going after Kanye West’s Yeezy LLC empire.

The big-box giant’s Walmart Apollo LLC has filed a notice of opposition with the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, arguing that a registration sought by the rapper-slash-designer’s brand is too similar to its own spark-like logo.

Walmart Apollo LLC vs. Yeezy LLC
A look at Walmart Apollo LLC’s logo (L) and Yeezy LLC’s logo.
CREDIT: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Early last year in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Yeezy applied to register a logo that featured “eight dotted lines, each comprising three totally shaded circles, with a total of 24 circles, arranged at equal angles as rays from a sun.” In its application, the label wrote that it intended to use the mark in connection with apparel, footwear and accessories, as well as audiovisual products, music-related items, computer goods, software, games and even hotel services.

However, last Wednesday, Walmart went to the board to block Yeezy’s request. In its filing, it claimed that the mark was “likely to cause confusion, mistake and deception” among consumers, plus “potentially create a false affiliation” with its own sunburst-style logo that could “injure and damage” its own brand. It also suggested that the use of the logo could “materially alter a consumer’s decision,” leading shoppers to purchase Yeezy’s goods and services “due to a mistaken thought of connection” to Walmart.

The Fashion Law earlier reported the move and released the images.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based chain included in its notice that it had been using the logo since as early as the fall of 2007. (Yeezy LLC filed its registration on Jan. 3, 2020.) It argued that the mark has become “well known and famous as a distinctive indicator of the origin of [its] goods and services and a symbol of [its] goodwill” as a business. Walmart asked the board to reject Yeezy’s application and uphold the opposition.

Separately, West’s intellectual property holding company, Mascotte Holdings Inc., recently filed trademark applications for the logo set to represent Yeezy’s 10-year partnership with Gap. The “YZY” mark appears to be a spin on the retailer’s signature logo, complete with white lettering on a rounded-edge navy square.

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