Australian rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has lost his legal battle against Melbourne burger shop, College Dropout Burgers.
West had accused the business and its owner, Mark Elkhouri, of misleading and deceptive conduct by implying that the establishment had his sponsorship or approval. The restaurant’s name, burgers, and signage were said to be inspired by West’s albums and songs.
However, Judge Shaun McElwaine dismissed the case, stating that West had taken “no steps” to advance the case since initiating proceedings in October 2022. Lawyers representing Elkhouri told the court that despite repeated attempts, West had not responded to them and had “no genuine interest” in progressing the case. Craig Smith SC, representing Elkhouri, said it had “become clear that by this point the applicant (West) is not interested”.
West’s lawyers, from King and Wood Mallesons, had previously filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court, alleging that the rapper had “suffered loss and damage” as a result of Elkhouri’s business. They had requested the immediate cessation of the use of College Dropout Burgers’ name, as well as any signs and logos based on West’s original album.
The judge ruled that the ‘Gold Digger’ rapper had “commenced proceedings with all guns blazing” only to not take a “step thereafter”.
Elkhouri said he was “very relieved” that the case had been dropped, and said he would be giving away free cheeseburgers at his Ivanhoe, Melbourne store from 2-3pm on Saturday in a show of gratitude to the local community.
“I don’t even know anything about it – all I know is that I make good burgers,” he told Daily Telegraph.
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College Dropout Burgers, which is located in Melbourne has a crowned teddy bear logo which is seemingly inspired by artwork from Kanye West’s debut College Dropout album. It also features burgers named after the rapper’s most famous songs, and has a large mural of Ye.
When asked by Daily Telegraph if intends to keep the West-inspired name and decor, Elkhouri replied, “if I do, it’s on my terms.”