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

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Adidas has recently won a copyright decision to protect some of the design elements of Kanye West’s iconic Yeezy sneakers. The sneaker company had filed for copyright protection of these design elements on the Yeezy Boost 350 versions 1 and 2. However, the filing was initially denied, not once but twice. Then, a sharp reversal occurred, when the Review Board of the U.S. Copyright Office reversed the denial for the “2-D artwork and sculpture” of the sneakers.

It has been a long-fought battle for the company. 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.

The Yeezy sneakers have become an iconic shoe in the footwear industry, and the decision to protect their design elements is considered a significant win for Adidas. The sneaker culture is a multi-billion dollar industry, with limited edition and highly sought-after sneakers selling for high prices in the resale market. Therefore, the protection of design elements could significantly benefit the company’s future revenue.

Adidas is not alone in the fight for protecting the design elements of their sneakers. Nike has also been involved in several lawsuits over the years, protecting the intellectual property of their Air Jordan sneakers. In 2018, Nike won a lawsuit against the company MSCHF over the release of their “Satan Shoes,” which were custom-made Nike Air Max 97s. The sneakers were modified with satanic-themed designs and a drop of human blood in the sole. Nike claimed that the release of these shoes caused significant harm to their brand image and reputation.

The protection of design elements in the sneaker industry is crucial, as it ensures that companies can protect their intellectual property, and it also helps prevent counterfeit products from entering the market. Companies invest significant resources in designing and marketing their products, and they deserve to have their designs protected under copyright law.

In conclusion, the recent decision by the U.S. Copyright Office to protect the design elements of Adidas’s Yeezy sneakers is a significant win for the company. The protection of intellectual property is essential for companies to maintain their brand image and reputation in the highly competitive sneaker industry. The decision also highlights the importance of copyright law in protecting creative works and design elements.