According to documents obtained by The Blast, the company Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals — who are in a trademark fight with Kobe over his famous nickname — filed a motion to compel as part of their ongoing battle.
The company claims they have been trying to get Kobe to turn over documents they believe will help their case. Hi-Tech informed Kobe’s lawyer they planned on deposing him but his attorney refused to agree to a sit-down, instead offering to hand over written answers.
Kobe’s lawyer allegedly told the company, “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.”
They added, “This is Kobe Bryant we are talking about – not some ‘Mom and Pop’ shop.”
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.