The relationship between Kanye West and Walmart has sunk to a new low after the billionaire rapper sued the retail giant for selling a ‘fake’ version of his Yeezy footwear at knock-off prices.
The rapper, according to TMZ, filed the lawsuit demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for “flagrantly trading off” his brand of Yeezy footwear, citing California’s Unfair Competition Law, which prohibits deceptive business practices.
West says the imitation of his Yeezy Foam Runner trainer found on Walmart’s website at the cost of $35 confused consumers with the genuine, costing the billionaire rapper hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Consumers are purchasing the imitation Yeezy Foam Runner footwear from Walmart on the mistaken belief that the shoes are associated with West and the Yeezy brand,” according to the court documents filed by West in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Attorneys for West accused the retail giant of trading off the popularity of West and Yeezy with an authorized copy of the Foam Runner, reminding the retail giant that the billionaire’s Yeezy brand was worth billions.
“Simply put, Kanye West is a household name, and the Yeezy brand, which has become synonymous with West, has become one of the most influential and successful brands in fashion”, according to the suit.
The rapper reportedly sued Walmart after warning the retail giant to stop selling the footwear but failed to do so. “Walmart’s conduct is harming and will continue to harm, West and Yeezy,” the court filings said, “leaving them no choice but (to sue) to stop Walmart’s unfair competition and profiting from the popularity of the success of West and Yeezy”.
“Not only are West and Yeezy losing market share for their authentic Yeezy Foam Runner, but also their reputation and the goodwill of the Yeezy brand is being harmed by the association with the Imitation Shoe given its subpar quality, as evidenced by the consumer comments shown from the Walmart website,” the court documents said.
The Foam Runner trainer was designed in 2019 and was first sold for $75 when it went up for sale in 2020. It sold out immediately.
It will be recalled that Walmart in April this year filed a complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over a proposed logo design by Kanye West’s Yeezy brand, saying the symbol looks too much like its own. The retail giant filed the complaint on April 21, arguing that West’s logo is likely to cause confusion and lead to consumer deception.