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NBA Legend Kobe Bryant is heading to trial in his battle with a pharma company over the name “Black Mamba.”
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has shut down Bryant’s attempt to wrap up the case.
Bryant has been battling the pharmaceutical company Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals for years. Hi-Tech is attempting to trademark the name “Black Mamba HYPERRUSH.” Bryant is fighting them saying they were ripping off his famous nickname.
The NBA legend recently asked the Trademark board to side with him and void Hi-Tech’s trademark applications. In newly filed documents, the United States Patent and Trademark Office shut down Bryant’s request allowing the case to move forward to trial. They believe the evidence shows there is still much to be determined.
The board found, “there is evidence in the record that: (1) Opposer admits that there is a species of snake known as BLACK MAMBA; (2) Bryant derived his nickname BLACK MAMBA from the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill and (3) BLACK MAMBA is also the nickname of the boxer Roger Mayweather.
“At a minimum, there is a genuine dispute as to whether the term BLACK MAMBA points uniquely and unmistakably to Bryant.”
They added, “we find that, in view of the aforementioned use by others of the term BLACK MAMBA, there is a genuine dispute as to whether the public would reasonably assume a connection between Bryant and Applicant’s goods.”
Since the board wasn’t entirely convinced by Bryant’s arguments, they denied his motion for summary judgment. The case will now head to trial where they will battle it out.
Back in 2015, the pharma company Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals filed to trademark the name “Black Mamba HYPERRUSH” to use to sell a line of ephedra-based diet pills. Kobe’s team filed to trademark his “Black Mamba” name the year after Hi-Tech.
Bryant and the pharma company have been battling it out since 2017 after Bryant demanded their trademarks not be approved, fearing it would cause confusion with consumers. He argued most people connect him with “Black Mamba” He even pointed to Nike using “hyper” their products, which would cause confusion with the diet pill name.
Hi-Tech fired back to Bryant’s opposition, calling him a bully and accusing him of overreaching his trademark rights to maliciously block their trademark. The company argued another athlete, boxer Roger Mayweather, uses the “Black Mamba” nickname. He trademarked “Roger Black Mamba Mayweather” in 2013, and Hi-Tech believed that alone should kill’s Bryant’s opposition to their trademark.
Bryant isn't the only celebrity battling it out over a trademark. Beyoncé is currently fighting over her daughter's name, Blue Ivy.