There is a new dating site in the works. While Tinder and Bumble are busy sparring over the legality of the design of Bumble’s “virtually identical to Tinder” app, a niche new site has emerged: Yeezy Dating. Bearing the tag line, “a Dating Site for fans of the genius Mr. Kanye West,” the site – which is slated to launch this month – is also garnering quite a bit of press and a following on social media. The question is: Will the site actually assist Kanye super-fans in finding love?
Chances are, the site will not last long, if it even makes it to beta mode in the first place. As we learned from Coinye West, the Kanye West-inspired cryptocurrency, that launched back in 2014, Mr. West’s lawyers are not too fond of others’ building businesses based on the appeal of the rapper-turned-fashion designer.
You may recall that when West’s legal team got wind that a “Coinye West” coin offering was in the works, they swiftly sent a strongly worded cease and desist letter to the individuals behind the venture, asserting that “given Mr. West’s wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of [the] services or is, at the very least, affiliated with, or has sponsored or endorsed the cryptocurrency.”
When the Coinye creators, David P. McEnery, Jr., Robbie E.C.A. Hontele, Harry Wills, Yifu Guo, Al Ra, Iain Craig, Alex Cacciamani, Richard McCord, Patrick Austin, and Martin Gasner, refused to cease (and actually rushed to launch to currency early), West filed suit against them – alleging publicity rights violations, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, deceptive business practices, and other claims. And by way of a handful of confidential settlement agreements with the creators, West’s counsel managed to kill off the Coinye cryptocurrency project.
Fast forward four years and chances are, we will see the very same thing happen with the Yeezy Dating project, complete with claims of allegation of publicity rights violations, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, deceptive business practices, etc., due in large part to the fact that attaching West’s name to the app could very likely lead consumers to believe that Kanye is involved. That, in itself, is grounds for a trademark infringement lawsuit, after all.
The onslaught of media attention that has coincided with the impending launch of the app is certainly not doing Harry Dry – the 22-year-old Kanye fan, who is behind the site – any favors in this regard. An article from the New York Post, for instance, bears the headline, “Taylor Swift fans banned from Kanye’s new dating site.” Another states, “Kanye West Is Releasing an App to Help Make Dating Yeezy.” It almost sounds like Kanye West is in some way involved in, affiliated with, or has approved the project (when, by all other accounts, he is not involved), and that is very problematic in a legal sense.
With that in mind, West’s legal team is likely swiping left on this whole thing as we speak.