Kim Kardashian Faces IP Litigation Over SKKN by Kim Beauty

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Kim Kardashian has been hit with a lawsuit by New York-based Natural beauty Ideas LLC about Kardashian’s just lately introduced skincare line, “SKKN by Kim.”  Magnificence Ideas submitted a complaint in the Jap District of New York versus Kardashian, her small business entity Kimsaprincess Inc., and elegance corporation Coty Inc. on Tuesday, alleging that SKKN by Kim takes advantage of branding “highly confusingly similar” to Beauty Concepts’ possess skincare line, “SKKN+”.  The criticism even further alleges that Natural beauty Principles has priority of use in excess of the letters “skkn” because of to the company’s constant use of the mark “SKKN+” considering that at minimum August 2018.

Beauty Concepts’ lawsuit is only the most modern obstacle struggling with Kardashian’s skincare line.  Kardashian submitted 17 trademark purposes for “SKKN by Kim” involving March and July of 2021.  On March 28, 2021, two times prior to Kardashian submitted her very first “SKKN by Kim” applications, Attractiveness Principles filed its have trademark application for “SKKN+”, and in September 2021, product Lori Harvey also filed a trademark application for a very similar title – “SKN by LH”.

Kardashian’s trademark programs are nonetheless pending critique by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Business office (“USPTO”)’s Trademark Demo and Attractiveness Board (“TTAB”).  In December 2021 and January 2022, Natural beauty Concepts initiated two opposition proceedings towards a number of of Kardashian’s programs.  The TTAB is now mediating negotiations among the two models, and thought of all of Kardashian’s pending trademarks is suspended right until the make a difference is resolved.

In accordance to Elegance Principles, Kardashian was place on recognize of the probability of confusion between the brand marks when Attractiveness Concepts submitted oppositions to Kardashian’s trademarks and sent a stop-and-desist letter to Kardashian’s group.  Even with becoming set on detect, Kardashian proceeded to start SKKN by Kim in June of this year.

Elegance Concepts argued at the TTAB that it has distinctive legal rights to “skkn” due to its use of the mark considering that at the very least 2018.  According to the opposition filed with the TTAB, Kardashian’s use of the phrase “skkn” is most likely to trigger confusion or blunder with respect to the origin of the parties’ products and expert services.  The resulting confusion will most likely impair Natural beauty Concepts’ prior, unique suitable to the mark.

In their response to Splendor Concepts’ opposition, Kardashian’s attorneys state-of-the-art various arguments: (1) Attractiveness Ideas does not have exclusive rights to the phrase “skkn” due to the descriptive nature of the mark, which is merely a misspelling of the expression “skin” (2)  Natural beauty Concepts’ rights to the phrase “skkn” are, at finest, confined to the mark that it is trying to sign up with the USPTO, which features stylization, a in addition sign, and a logo and (3) Magnificence Concepts’ prior use of the mark does not cover “everything and anything elegance, cosmetic, hair, or nail-related.”  Relatively, its legal rights to “skkn” (if any) are narrowly confined to the pores and skin facial services presented out of a one locale in Brooklyn, New York.

The consequence of the mediation amongst Kardashian and Magnificence Concepts will most likely have an impact on other pending trademark purposes masking variants of the phrase “skin.”  Usually, the TTAB will reject a trademark software for a very descriptive mark, these as a person that merely describes pores and skin care products and products and services.  On the other hand, if an applicant can demonstrate that the descriptive mark is associated with a distinctive product – for instance, by adding “by Kim” – the TTAB may well be extra possible to grant acceptance.

Natural beauty Ideas can make related arguments in its lawsuit in opposition to Kardashian, alleging that Kardashian has intentionally disregarded Splendor Concepts’ remarkable rights to the “skkn” mark, and that Kardashian’s use of the mark “will and have perplexed, misled, and deceived the normal community and shoppers into believing that Splendor Ideas manufactures, sells, sponsors, approves and/or licenses the Kardashian/Coty Defendants’ items and companies,” resulting in hurt to Attractiveness Concepts’ SKKN+ brand name.  The lawsuit delivers promises for willful infringement of Natural beauty Concepts’ emblems, reverse confusion, unfair opposition, and civil conspiracy.

If Kardashian loses the TTAB dispute, she will be not able to acquire a trademark for “SKKN by Kim,” but might or else continue to use the mark in her branding.  On the other hand, if Kardashian loses the lawsuit, she may possibly be pressured to stop use of the mark fully.  Attractiveness Ideas is in search of both of those injunctive relief and damages in its criticism.  If the courtroom grants Splendor Ideas its ideal reduction, SKKN by Kim will be forced to halt revenue till it ceases use of the letters “skkn.”

The TTAB has still to issue its choice in the dispute among Kardashian and Attractiveness Principles, and it is unclear irrespective of whether or not its determination will have any impact on the end result of the lawsuit.  According to the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc, nonetheless, if the “usages adjudicated by the TTAB are materially the very same as individuals just before [the] district courtroom,” problem preclusion may well utilize so the district court docket will be sure by the determination of the TTAB.

Shiva Pedram contributed to this posting.

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP.
National Regulation Evaluation, Volume XII, Variety 199

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