Kanye West’s Yeezy Trademark and Chinese Issues, Don’t Believe the Hype
There has been several articles written, mostly inaccurate and misleading, indicating that a Chinese company has taken the Yeezy trademarks. This is likely not the case. Kanye West, through his company Mascotte Holdings, Inc., has a US trademark registration for “Yeezy” filed in 2013, as well as other registration/applications for YZY and Yeezi.
What the hullabaloo is about as written in Hypebeast and TMZ, is a Chinese company called Fujian Baby Network Technology Co., Ltd, recently filed an application for Yeezy Boast in class 25 for clothing and somehow took the Yeezy trademark. Wrong. Even the NYDaily News gets it grossly wrong, as the pending application by Fujian will likely get rejected in view of Kanye’s preexisting registration. And even if it doesn’t, Yeezy will likely file trademark oppositions within the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and will likely win. In fact, just last month, Kanye filed three opposition proceedings against three separate Chinese companies that filed applications for YEE SI, YZY, and YEEZEE.
Kanye will likely be successful in opposing these applications here in the US, however, in China, there appears to be several trademark registrations for Yeezy and variations, that Kanye may have missed the boat on. Dealing with counterfeit Yeezy products manufactured in China and being sneaked into the US is a likely problem he is facing. Having several Yeezy trademark registrations in China would be good ammo in his enforcement against the knockoffs. The lesson in all of this is to not simply stop with US trademark filings, particularly if you are manufacturing in China. Filing Chinese trademark applications is a critical part of ones IP strategy particularly if manufacturing in the China.