Kanye West’s Lawsuit Against ‘College Dropout Burgers’ Dismissed
In recent news, the Federal Court has formally dismissed the legal dispute between Kanye West and the Australian burger chain ‘College Dropout Burgers.’
Last October, Kanye West initiated legal action against College Dropout Burgers and Mark Elkhouri, its owner.
Ye alleged that they were using the name of his debut 2004 album, ‘The College Dropout,’ without authorization.
Kanye West’s legal team initially filed the case in the Federal Court of Australia, arguing that using the words’ College Dropout’ in the burger chain’s name would cause confusion among consumers and dilute the strength of Kanye West’s trademark.
“Ye has suffered and will keep suffering damage and loss,” the document read. “He has sold over 140 million records internationally and is among the best-selling musicians ever.”
— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) March 3, 2023
However, Elkhouri’s lawyers spoke to the court, saying Kanye had failed to respond on multiple occasions and had “no genuine interest in the proceeding.”
Why the Case was Dismissed
The court received information that Kanye’s original legal team had withdrawn from the case, and neither the plaintiff nor his new US-based attorney was present during the court hearing.
Attorney Craig Smith requested the dismissal of the lawsuit on three grounds about non-adherence to court procedures.
Justice Shaun McElwaine supported Smith’s argument, stating that Kanye had initiated the proceedings enthusiastically but failed to follow through with any action. The court ultimately dismissed the case.
In addition, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that using the words’ College Dropout’ in the burger chain’s name would cause confusion among consumers. They claim that it could also dilute the strength of Kanye’s trademark.
An Ivanhoe burger joint will giveaway freebies to celebrate the end of a legal stoush with rapper Kanye West. The Federal Court dismissed the case against College Dropout Burgers after the musician stopped returning calls and his initial legal team dumped him. @SaraJones_7 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/HDDK3slt4I
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) March 3, 2023
Kanye West’s Album and the Burger Chain
Kanye West’s album ‘The College Dropout‘ was released in 2004 and has become a significant part of his brand. However, the burger chain argued that its name referenced its brand identity and did not intend to infringe on Kanye West’s trademark.
In February 2021, Kanye West sent a cease-and-desist letter to Elkhouri five months before the burger bar’s opening. Despite this warning, Elkhouri continued his plans for the establishment, which included a logo inspired by the bear featured on the cover of ‘The College Dropout.’
Later in June 2021, Kanye sent a second cease-and-desist notice. He requested that Elkhouri change the names of specific menu items, such as Golddigger, Cheezus, Good Morning, and Parties in L.A. burger.
Kanye also requested the removal of a mural of the star and the discard of the logo.
Elkhouri subsequently announced that he would comply with the request to remove all references to Kanye West and disavowed any direct inspiration from the rapper or his music.
He answered the question if he intended to keep the restaurant’s name. “If I do, it’ll be on my terms,” he replied.
Elkhouri donned a T-shirt with the slogan “I am not Kanye West” to court. He spoke to reporters, saying he was “relieved” the case was over but told them that he’s still a fan of Ye’s music.
“There were some very, very hard times in my life that [Kanye West] kind of helped me through, whether it was his previous albums and the type of message,” Elkhouri explained.
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