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.

Filed Under: black mamba, deposition, kobe bryant, trademark
Companies: hi-tech pharmaceuticals


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Nov 2018 @ 7:38pm

    "You see Your Honor, my client has been hit in the head. LOTS."

    Quite the novel defense that, 'my client would be too clueless for deposing him to be of any use', and I can't help but wonder what he thinks about being portrayed like that in legal filings by his own lawyers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stine, 27 Nov 2018 @ 9:31pm

    i'll give you a hint...

    What his attorneys want to avoid is for Kobe to be asked the question "What does your trademark Black Mamba represent?" because when he answers "my dick", he's going to be infamous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2018 @ 12:03am

      Re: i'll give you a hint...

      Kobe Bryant and "his dick" are already infamous. Considering how he raped hotel employee Katelyn Faber, we might expect Kobe Bryant's trademark value in today's #MeToo climate to be on the level of Bill Cosby.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    stderric (profile), 27 Nov 2018 @ 11:04pm

    Lawyers For Kobe Bryant Tout His Uselessness In Potential Trademark Opposition Fight

    Lawyers For Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Threaten To Add Phil Jackson To Legal Team, Make Kobe Useful

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    John Smith, 28 Nov 2018 @ 12:17am

    You make this too easy, Masnick. With Bryant on my team your cadre of schoolyrad insult lawuers will crumble under my boot. That's what happens when you get your pirate buddies to project me as a female-hating idiot.

    Section 230 will die, and you along with it. Yhe same goes for all who dare oppose intellectual property.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2018 @ 7:23am

    Not strange at all.

    To have this kind of animosity and fight over what is essentially a trademark non-issue seems very strange.

    Not strange at all. His lawyers are going to make a ton in legal fees. The more they fight, the more they make.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael H, 28 Nov 2018 @ 1:27pm

    Beatrix Kiddo

    Really? Not one reference to Kill Bill? Quentin Tarantino could claim he's the one being ripped off ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2018 @ 2:01pm

    Sounds ot me like Kobe bryant's lawyers are telling the court that if he's forced to be deposed that he's not going to answer any questions and that his only response is going to be "I don't know" or "I don't recall".

    Somebody needs to tell Kobe Bryant that he doesn't get to tell the court what he will or won;t do and that arguing he'll only answer questions that are submitted in writing is Kobe telling the court that he won't abide by what the court rules and he'll refuse to answer any questions posed by Hi-Tech Pharma.

    The court should just then throw Kobe in a hail cell for a month or two and tell him that this is what the court can do (by holding him in contempt).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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