Adidas Secures U.S. Copyright Protection for Kanye Yeezy Sneaker Designs

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Adidas has won a copyright decision to protect some of the design elements of Kanye’s iconic Yeezy sneakers.

The sneaker company filed for copyright protection of these elements on the Yeezy Boost 350 versions 1 and 2.  However, the filing was initially denied — twice.

Then, a sharp reversal occurred.  Earlier this month, the Review Board of the U.S. Copyright Office reversed the denial for the “2-D artwork and sculpture” of the sneakers.

It’s been a long-fought battle.  Adidas first filed its copyright registration for Versions 1 & 2 of the Yeezy sneakers back in 2017. Since then, the company has been fighting to get the application approved.

According to the filing descriptions, the Version 1 design of the Yeezy Boost 350 sneaker features “irregular black lines of various lengths and shapes on a gray fabric with a black semi-circle in the arch and an orange dotted stripe on an off-white heel loop.”

The Version 2 design of the Yeezy Boost 350 sneaker is described as “several grey lines in a wave pattern with a thick orange stripe on the outsole that fades toward the heel of the sneaker with a secondary inner orange layer that adds intermittent orange coloring.”

The U.S. Copyright Office first refused the registration for the iconic sneakers in February 2018.

The office argued that the sneakers themselves are useful articles that could not be copyrighted. Copyright protection only extends to creative, separable elements of useful articles, not the articles themselves.

Adidas asked the office to reconsider its ruling, but was handed yet another denial. This time, the office said there wasn’t enough of a unique design to copyright.  After a second request for reconsideration, the Review Board decided that the design elements on the sneaker are protectable by copyright law.

Now, the matter has been punted back down to the Registration Policy and Practice division for final registration.