Walmart Is Taking Yeezy to Court
Back in January 2020, Kanye West shared a brand-new logo for his Yeezy brand (more specifically, Yeezy LLC). When the asterisk-shaped logo debuted, Walmart filed documents claiming that it was "confusingly similar" to its own trademarked logo. Today, The Fashion Law reports that Walmart is amending its case, switching its original Deception/False Designation of Origin claim to False Suggestion of a Connection under the Trademark Act, saying that it's "Spark Design" trademark "is, and since its introduction in 2007 has been, widely and heavily used to identify [Walmart]."
Walmart's legal team states that the logo "appears on all of [Walmart's] brick-and-mortar stores, on virtually every page of [its] e-commerce web site, on virtually every shopping bag given to customers, on virtually every television and online advertisement for [Walmart], and elsewhere."
As a result, "[C]onsumers and others are highly likely to recognize that the Walmart mark points uniquely and unmistakably to [Walmart]."
The super brand claims that Yeezy's design is "a close approximation of [Walmart's] logo, which had been in wide use long prior to [Yeezy's] filing date." The similarities are clear, since both "designs incorporate lines of equal length radiating out from the center to resemble a spark or sunburst."
The legal documents also state that consumers may be confused by the similarities, especially when "the Yeezy mark" is applied to a slew of new goods — clothing and retail stores, musical sound recordings and streaming, hotel services, and even "non-metal modular homes" are all in the Yeezy trademark application. Walmart notes that shoppers may connect the two brands when they aren't actually involved with each other at all.
TFL reports that both legal teams argue in their latest filings that their clients are wildly well-known, which is true. West's team claims that he is famous enough for shoppers to associate the sun design with him and not Walmart, but the retailer insists that its "Spark Design" is so well-known that it "is entitled to a broader scope of protection against third-party uses of similar marks."