Barely two months after settling a year-long fight, in which textile supplier Toki Sen-I Co. accused Kanye West and his fashion brand of failing to make good on a $600,000-plus contract for 53,000 yards of “fleece fabric to be used to make Yeezy shoes,” while running Yeezy Apparel as “a mere shell [company] and sham … intended, conceived [of], and used by Kanye West as a device to avoid individual liability,” Yeezy has been hit with a brand new breach of contract lawsuit.
According to a complaint filed in a California state Superior Court in Los Angeles late last week, Backbone PLM claims that Yeezy Apparel is on the hook for breaching a written contract that it entered into in September 2018. In furtherance of the parties’ deal, Boulder, Colorado-based Backbone claims that it agreed to provide Yeezy with product lifecycle management tools – such as those that enable brands to do everything from accessing color libraries and creating design specs to managing inventory.
In exchange for a subscription fee of $198,000 for two years, Backbone – which counts Allbirds, Outdoor Voices, Kith, Shinola, and Movado, among others, as clients – licensed its software to Yeezy, and for months, the relationship was working out just … until it was not. “Shortly after execution of the contract, [Backbone says that it] began providing the service to [Yeezy],” which pursuant to the parties’ contract paid Backbone’s one-time $20,000 implementation fee, the first annual fee of $10,000, and the monthly user fees for months 1-12, which totaled $43,200.
However, in September 2019, Backbone claims that Yeezy Apparel continued to maintain access to the software but stopped paying. The company says it “repeatedly requested payment of the outstanding invoices,” which totaled $125,200, “over the course of the next eight months” but did not have any success in getting payment from the company.
“Despite the repeated requests, as of the date of this complaint, [Yeezy] has made no payment towards the outstanding invoices,” Backbone claims, and thus, has been prompted to “bring this lawsuit to recover unpaid subscription fees pursuant to [the parties’] written contract.” As such, Backbone is suing to recover the rest of the contract sum plus interest, and is also seeking to have Yeezy Apparel foot its legal bills in connection with the lawsuit at hand, along with “any other and further relief that the court may deem just and proper.”
The lawsuit comes just weeks after Bloomberg reported that the sneaker side of West’s Yeezy business by way of the rapper-slash-designer’s enduring partnership with adidas was valued at “as much as $3 billion last year,” citing pre-COVID-19 Bank of American calculations.
*The case is Backbone PLM, Inc., v. Yeezy Apparel, LLC, 20VECV00547 (Cal. Sup.).