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Aaron here from Maxxis. @TonyJ is correct on the first part. If the tech on the sidewall matches between two given tires then the tires are the same apart from the color of our logo (hot patch).
The reason we have the two options (white and yellow) though is at the request of bike brands. Our bright yellow doesn't always mesh well with certain paint schemes so manufacturers asked for a white hot patch.
In the most general terms, white hot patches are OE tires, yellow hot patches are RE (replacement equipment) tires, as in what you would buy from your shop. Some brands (Yeti, Santa Cruz) do opt for the yellow hot patch on their stock bikes though.
We have other methods for tracking grey market issues.
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