Kobe Bryant is accusing a pharma company of filing scandalous court documents that reveal private discussions in an attempt to get him to settle a legal battle over his nickname "Black Mamba."
Kobe and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals are in a trademark fight over the use of the NBA star’s famous nickname. Hi-Tech claimed recently Kobe’s attorney refused to let him be deposed in the case.
Hi-Tech claimed Kobe Bryant’s lawyer allegedly told them, “Deposing Kobe Bryant would be like Lil Wayne’s deposition … it would be just like that – he’d just be saying ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.'”
The attorney is referring to an infamous deposition Wayne gave in 2012 where he answered “I don’t recall” to dozens of questions.
The NBA star’s lawyer then told the pharma company if they tried to depose Kobe, they would get a room full of attorneys and “you can try, but it’s never going to happen.”
In the newly filed court documents obtained by The Blast, Kobe’s lawyer is demanding the statements he allegedly made be struck from the court record. He claims the alleged comments are completely irrelevant and the entire conversations quoted came from settlement discussions.
He accuses the pharma company of including those statements in an attempt to harass Kobe for not reaching a settlement.
Kobe’s lawyer says the comments were provided without context and claims, “In reality, the statements made during these settlement discussions were in response to Applicant’s threats of deposition which were made in order to induce KBI to settle."
He claims the motion filed by the pharma company is “replete with completely irrelevant, slander, innuendo, and misstatements” and is demanding their motion be dismissed.
Back in 2015, a pharmaceutical company called 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.
The NBA legend and the pharma company have been battling it out since last year after Kobe demanded their trademarks not be approved, fearing it would cause confusion with consumers. He argued that most connect him with Black Mamba and even pointed to Nike regularly using “hyper” their products, which would cause confusion with the diet pill.
Hi-Tech responded to Kobe’s opposition, calling him a bully and accusing him of overreaching his trademark rights to maliciously block their registration. The pharma company also says another athlete uses the “Black Mamba” nickname, boxer Roger Mayweather. He trademarked “Roger Black Mamba Mayweather” in 2013, and Hi-Tech claims that alone kills Kobe’s argument.
No decision has been made as of yet regarding Kobe’s deposition.