Kanye West and Walmart have been taking aim at each other over intellectual property. Recently, West filed a lawsuit in the state of California against the retail giant over the sale of an “imitation version” of West’s Yeezy Foam Runner.
According to TMZ, Walmart has decided to remove the Yeezy-esque shoes from the company’s web store. Walmart offered a defense of the alleged counterfeits by insisting the reproduced Foam Runners were listed by third-party merchants.
“The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third-party Marketplace sellers,” stated a Walmart representative about West’s lawsuit. “We take allegations like this seriously and are reviewing the claim.”
This is not the first public legal battle between Walmart and Kanye West. In April, reports surfaced about Walmart filing a complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against West’s 2020 trademark application for his Yeezy LLC.
Walmart claimed West’s Yeezy LLC logo was too similar to its 13-year-old sun rays logo. The multinational corporation argued the Yeezy image could cause the “dilution of the distinctive value” of the Walmart symbol and could cause consumers to mistakenly believe the two brands are associated in some way.
“As we referenced in our correspondence in July and August of 2020, January and February of 2021 and our telephone conference in March of 2021, Walmart has repeatedly sought to understand Yeezy’s planned use of the Yeezy Application, with the goal of finding ways in which the Walmart Spark Design and the Yeezy Application can co-exist with one another,” read a portion of a letter Walmart reportedly sent to lawyers representing Yeezy.
While the knockoff Yeezys are no longer available at walmart.com, a similar style of footwear is on sale via various other online retailers. In 2020, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler sponsored the Shop Safe Act which provides liability for certain electronic commerce outlets that offer counterfeit items sold by third parties on those platforms.
Last year, Atlanta-bred rapper Lil Baby called out Walmart for selling fake replicas of his record label’s 4PF pendants on its website. The My Turn album creator tweeted, “Walmart got me [f#####] up.”
That same week saw fellow Atlanta-area native 21 Savage also blast Walmart on social media. The Grammy-winning performer took issue with the online store offering phony Savage Gang necklaces to its customers.