Kanye West’s ‘YEWS’ Trademark Application Raises Concerns in Brisbane
Kanye West, the renowned musician and fashion icon, has recently filed a trademark application for the term ‘YEWS’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The trademark application covers a range of ventures, including fashion and gambling. While this move represents a strategic expansion of West’s brand, it has raised concerns for a Brisbane-based tech company, Your Easy Web Solutions (YEWS), which uses the acronym ‘YEWS’ for its business operations. This article explores the potential ramifications of West’s trademark application on YEWS and the associated concerns regarding the controversial views expressed by the rapper.
The Trademark Application
Kanye West’s trademark application for the term ‘YEWS’ signifies his intention to use this brand for various business activities, notably fashion and gambling. This development indicates West’s expansion beyond the music industry into sectors that may overlap with the operations of other companies, such as YEWS. In this regard, various music artists (Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Dr Dre, Jay Z, etc) have enjoyed phenomenal success with business ventures outside their normal music endeavours.
Concerns for Your Easy Web Solutions (YEWS)
Brisbane’s tech company, Your Easy Web Solutions, currently utilizes the acronym ‘YEWS’ as part of its brand identity. In recent media reports, YEWS’ Managing Director, Alexei Kouleshov, has expressed genuine concerns regarding the potential impact of West’s trademark application on YEWS. These primary concerns being as follows:
1. Rebranding Requirement:
Should Kanye West’s trademark application be approved, it might necessitate that YEWS undergo a significant rebranding effort. This process can be costly and time-consuming, potentially affecting the company’s pre-established identity.
2. Reputation and Controversy:
A central concern lies in the potential association between the term ‘YEWS’ and the similarity to the word ‘Jews.’ Given Kanye West’s history of making controversial and his recently reported anti-Semitic comments, this connection may result in reputational damage for the Brisbane-based company for Kanye West using the term ‘YEWS’. Such negative connotations could harm YEWS’ image and standing in the market.
3. Neutral Business Orientation:
Mr. Kouleshov emphasised that YEWS is a neutral entity when it comes to political and controversial matters. The company having operated for 16 years with a focus on web development and digital marketing. Any unintended association with controversy could adversely affect the company’s position and standing as a reliable and neutral service provider.
4. Legal Action to Protect Brand Identity
To safeguard the company’s brand identity and reputation, Mr. Kouleshov expressed his commitment to taking all necessary legal actions. This suggests that, if West’s trademark application poses a substantial threat to YEWS, the Brisbane-based tech company may explore legal remedies to protect its interests and ensure its continued operation with minimal disruption. The obvious concern being the uphill battle that Mr. Kouleshov may face, as a business owner, taking on someone who has significant financial and legal resources such as Mr. West.
Do I need to register my trademark?
Registering your trademark is not mandatory in Australia, but it is highly recommended. Registering a trademark provides legal protection and exclusive rights to use that mark for the goods and services it’s registered for. Without registration, you may have limited legal recourse if someone else uses your mark. Registering a trademark helps protect your brand identity and can make it easier to enforce your rights.
How long does a trademark registration last?
In Australia, a registered trademark can last indefinitely, as long as it is renewed every ten years. The initial registration period is ten years, and you can renew it indefinitely for additional ten-year periods. It’s crucial to keep up with the renewal requirements to maintain your trademark rights.
Can I trademark a common word or phrase?
It is possible to register a trademark for a common word or phrase in Australia, but there are some limitations and considerations. To register such a trademark, it must be distinctive in connection with the goods or services it will represent. A common word or phrase that is generic or descriptive may not be registrable. It should be capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of others. The trademark examiners will assess the distinctiveness of the proposed mark during the application process.
What can I do if someone is infringing on my trademark?
If someone is infringing on your registered trademark in Australia, you can take legal action to protect your rights. Some steps to consider include:
a. Send a letter of demand: Start by sending a formal letter to the infringing party, demanding they stop using your trademark;
b. Contact the Australian Trademarks Office: You can also inform IP Australia, the government agency responsible for trademarks, of the infringement; and
c. Legal action: If the infringement continues, you can initiate legal proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia. Remedies may include an injunction, damages, or an account of profits.
It’s essential to consult with a trademark solicitor who is experienced in trademark matters to determine the best course of action and to ensure you are protecting your rights effectively. Trademark enforcement in Australia is a legal process that can be complex, so seeking professional advice is crucial.
Kanye West’s trademark application for ‘YEWS’ in the fashion and gambling sectors has sparked concerns for the Brisbane tech company, Your Easy Web Solutions (YEWS). The potential need for rebranding and the association with controversial views expressed by the rapper have raised valid concerns regarding the Australian company’s brand identity and reputation. Ultimately, YEWS may be required to pursue legal actions to protect its established brand. The outcome of such legal action will undoubtedly be of interest to those involved in trademark law and intellectual property rights, and highlights the importance of due diligence and awareness of existing trademarks when expanding a brand into new areas of business.
Whilst such a legal action may receive a response from Kanye West legal team along the lines of “Gold Digger” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” Salerno Law’s Intellectual Property Team ensure that its clients are always provided with “Everything We Need” by way of the best legal advice and service.
Salerno Law has a team of dedicated and experienced lawyers in the area Intellectual Property who have an unparalleled commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. This dedication and experience mean we are able to provide tailored advice and successful results for our clients who are dealing with Trademark or Copyright law matters.
Our reputation for excellence and results makes us a trusted and reliable choice for anyone seeking legal representation and advice in any Trademark/Copyright Law matter.
Law Graduate: Ibbi Jahshan
Managing Partner: Cliff Savala