Walmart Opposes Kanye West’s New Yeezy Logo

  • September 28, 2021
  • Alessia Monastero

Earlier this year, Walmart filed an opposition with the US Patent and Trademark Office against Kanye West’s new Yeezy logo. Yeezy LLC’s new trademark application consists of eight symmetrical dotted lines in the shape of a spark. Walmart argues that it will be damaged by the registration of Yeezy’s mark, which was filed in connection with music, clothing, retail store services, streaming of music services, record production, and hotel services. ⁠

Walmart notes that it has used its “spark” mark in relation to various overlapping goods and services since at least as early as 2007, and that after many years of use, Walmart's mark has become a distinctive indicator of its products and a symbol of goodwill. Interestingly, Walmart argues that the likelihood of confusion between the Yeezy and Walmart “spark” mark is aggravated by the fact that Walmart often partners with celebrities to create special product lines and utilizes notable pop culture references to promote its goods. ⁠

In response to the opposition, Yeezy asserts that Walmart is attempting to extend its “spark” design beyond its federal and common law trademark rights, and that its allegations that Yeezy intends to mislead consumers into mistakenly believing that the parties are associated are “absurd”. In fact, Yeezy dismisses the retail giant’s argument of confusion, stating that Walmart “certainly knows, as does the consuming public, that the last thing Applicant [Yeezy] wants to do is associate itself with Opposer [Walmart]”. The response goes on to argue that the marks, in their entireties, differ in sight and create a different overall commercial impression. 

Further thickening the storyline, a week prior to filing this response, Yeezy initiated a completely separate complaint with the Superior Court of the State of California against Walmart, accusing Walmart of selling knockoffs of the Yeezy Foam Runners. The look-alike shoes were quickly pulled from Walmart’s website shortly after the claim was filed.

With respect to the “spark” logo proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Walmart filed an amended opposition on September 23, 2021, giving Yeezy 30 days from the filing of the amended opposition to file an amended answer.

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