Adidas has recently severed ties with Kanye West, leaving many to wonder how the intellectual property rights developed during their partnership will be divided.
Bloomberg and Josh Gerben discuss the dissolution of the partnership as well as the potential split of intellectual property rights.
According to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, the founder of the Gerben IP, the contract between the two parties may include a “morals” clause that allows early termination of the deal or termination clauses that allow one entity to take the intellectual property from the other.
“Because we don’t know what’s in the contract between Adidas and Kanye, we don’t know how smooth or how ugly the separation will end up being,” he said.
As Adidas owns a series of design patents for the Yeezy shoes, the company can potentially continue selling shoes that look similar to the ones created during their partnership with the rapper – as long as the apparel company doesn’t use any trademarks that are owned by Kanye. However it’s likely that this split and the controversy leading to it has already lowed the value of the designs.
“If Adidas is going to move forward with any use of a product that resembles something they did with Kanye, I don’t think that’s going to go over well,” he said.
“It is essentially just a complete loss for them.”
Source: Poritz, Isaiah and Dolmetsch, Chris. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/. “Ye-Adidas Divorce Muddles Ownership of Yeezy Brand, Designs.” 26 October 2022