Lawyers For Kobe Bryant Tout His Uselessness In Potential Trademark Opposition Fight
from the mamba-number-five dept
Kobe Bryant made his name, and his Black Mamba nickname, playing basketball. Like many athletes, however, he expanded his business reach off the court and into branding. Utilizing the Black Mamba nickname, he entered into all sorts of licensing arrangements, including with Nike, which makes athletic apparel. As far as I can tell, he has no licensing arrangements for health supplements.
And, yet, he has been embroiled in a years-long fight with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, makers of the Black Mamba HYPERRUSH line of diet pills. Aside from the divergent marketplaces, the entire dispute is something of a mess. Hi-Tech applied for its trademark a year before Bryant applied for his own Black Mamba mark, after which Bryant opposed Hi-Tech’s application on grounds of customer confusion. Hi-Tech has been battling this out, claiming that Bryant has information that would be helpful to its side of the argument. To that end, they want to depose Bryant, who has thus far refused to hand over documents. Now a motion to compel has been filed, but Bryant’s lawyers’ strategy for refusing to have him be deposed is essentially to highlight just how useless he would be in a deposition.
Kobe’s lawyer allegedly told the company, “Deposing Kobe Bryant would be like Lil Wayne’s deposition … it would be just like that – he’d just be saying ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.’”
The attorney is referring to an infamous deposition Wayne gave in 2012 where he answered “I don’t recall” to dozens of questions.
The NBA star’s lawyer then told the pharma company if they tried to depose Kobe, they would get a room full of attorneys and “you can try, but it’s never going to happen.”
Instead, Bryant’s lawyers are insisting he provide only written responses to questions. Why having Bryant doing his best Donald Trump to Bob Mueller impression is even necessary is anybody’s guess. Bryant has all kinds of issues here that are mostly to do with the sequence of the filings and the markets in which both brands are operating. To have this kind of animosity and fight over what is essentially a trademark non-issue seems very strange.
It’s not at all clear just what Hi-Tech thinks it can get out of a deposition or the documents it wants from Bryant, but the way this is being pushed for leads one to think there must be something there. I can’t imagine Bryant’s best course of action here is to continue down this road rather than just dropping his opposition.