Ye’s ‘White Lives Matter’ Shirt and Trademark Law: Explained

Earlier this year, rapper Kanye West made headlines when he wore a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt at the MTV Video Music Awards. The shirt was covered in the words “Ye’s” and “White Lives Matter,” and prompted many to accuse West of appropriating Trump’s trademark. This article will provide an overview of trademark law and how it impacts fashion decisions.

The phrase “White Lives Matter” first gained national attention during protests against the Black Lives Matter movement. The slogan began appearing on various flags, banners, and t-shirts during this time period and was intended to draw attention to the fact that black people are still often killed by law enforcement officers without consequences. The slogan “White Lives Matter” is associated with the alt-right white nationalist movement. It has been used to promote white supremacy and neo-Nazism since 2016. In recent months, groups around the country have started using the slogan to bring attention to controversial issues such as racist police shootings and ICE raids.

West’s fan base largely consists of black Americans, many of whom support Trump. It is unclear whether or not the slogan on West’s t-shirt was intended to be political or merely reflective of his style. However, if it is considered political commentary, then it could fall within the ambit of West’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. Additionally, because “Ye’s” is not an explicit reference to Trump, it may not violate his trademark rights. However, if West intends to use the phrase to reference Trump specifically, then he may be breaching his trademark rights. In either case, it is likely that this lawsuit will result in some sort of resolution.

What are the basics of a trademark and how it applies in this case?

There are a few things to bear in mind when examining this particular shirt. First of all, trademark law protects marks that are used in commerce to distinguish goods or services from those of competitors. In this case, the mark is used to distinguish products created by Ye’s Merchandise from those sold by other companies. Second, even if you don’t hold any rights to the mark yourself, you may be infringing on someone else’s rights if you are selling products that contain the mark without their permission. Finally, obtaining a legal trademark registration doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to successfully enforce your rights against infringers. Nevertheless, registering a trademark is always prudent because it gives you valuable legal protection.

There are several steps you can take to protect your trademark if you decide to use it for political or ideological purposes:

  • first, consult with an attorney who can help you determine whether there is any opposition and develop a strategy for defending your mark;
  • second, make sure that your use of the brand avoids any potential conflict with existing trademarks;
  • third, make sure that all materials related to your identity case are approved by legal staff;
  • lastly, publicize your brand usage carefully so that others know what you are doing and allow you time to receive negative feedback without ending up in court.

What are the potential legal implications of the t-shirt and what is the likelihood of successful trademark registration?

This episode highlights one of the potential problems with using trademarks for political or ideological purposes: if there is opposition to the use, it can be difficult to defend the mark. This was highlighted earlier this year when Nike faced a boycott over their ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, which some saw as promoting violence against police officers. Nike decided not to register Kaepernick’s trademark due to ongoing legal challenges.

Ye’s is the company that produces the “White Lives Matter” clothing line. The trademark for the term was filed in July of this year, and since then there have been a number of protests and complaints against the company. Ye’s T-shirt is technically legal. The First Amendment protects speech that doesn’t incite violence or illegal activity. Ye’s shirt does not promote any illegal or violent tendencies; it merely promotes positive ideas about race. In fact, Ye has made similar shirts in the past without any issues.

The term “White Lives Matter” is legally protected under United States trademark law. This means that Ye’s can legally sell the clothing line and use the term to promote their product. There are a number of reasons why this term is protected by law. One reason is that the phrase is part of America’s national discourse. Many people identify the term as being part of American national identity. Another reason is that the term is used to promote a commercial product.


Given all of the controversial events happening in America right now, it is understandable why Ye’s would want to protect their trademark for “White Lives Matter.” However, as this debate has shown us, protecting intellectual property does not always have positive consequences. Ye’s Shirt is challenging the prevailing perceptions about race in America. The brand is using its trademark to promote these controversial viewpoints, but will this marketing strategy have any long-term impact?

About the Author

You may also like these