Social media has revolutionized the way in which we work together with each other. In a digitally pushed society, social media has dominated the advertising and marketing panorama because of the rise of celeb influencers. Two of essentially the most distinguished celeb influencers in the present day are Kim Kardashian (“Kardashian”) and Hailey Rhode Bieber (“Bieber”). The time period “influencer” is broadly outlined by many as “people who’ve the ability to have an effect on buy selections of others due to their (actual or perceived) authority, data, place, or relationship.”1Lauryn Harris, Annotation, Too Little, Too Late: FTC Tips on “Misleading and Deceptive” Endorsements by Social Media Influencers, 62 How. L. J. 947 (Initially revealed in 2019). Influencers leverage their recognition on social media websites to endorse, promote, and promote third-party merchandise.2Id. In June 2022, Kardashian and Bieber launched their respective, and closely anticipated skin-care manufacturers. Kardashian launched SKKN BY KIM whereas Bieber launched Rhode.3Mykenna Maniece, Why Hailey Bieber and Kim Kardashian are Being Sued over their Magnificence Manufacturers, Betches, July 6, 2022, https://betches.com/why-hailey-bieber-and-kim-kardashian-are-being-sued-over-their-beauty-brands/. For the reason that launch of their respective firms, each SKKN BY KIM and Rhode have confronted lawsuits associated to alleged trademark infringement.4Heather Antoine, Hailey Bieber’s New Skincare Line Welcomed with Infringement Lawsuit, Forbes, June 30, 2022, https://www.forbes.com/websites/legalentertainment/.Danielle Cohen, Kim Kardashian is Being Sued Over SKKN, The Lower, June 29, 2022, https://www.thecut.com/2022/06/kim-kardashian-skkn-lawsuit.
On June 15, 2022, Bieber launched Rhode, her first foray within the magnificence trade, in addition to her first ever model.5Supra, notice 4. After a number of years of improvement, Rhode launched its first three merchandise and offered out inside a couple of hours.6Margaret Blatz, Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Pores and skin is Getting a Entire Restock, Elite Dailey, Aug. 10, 2022, https://www.elitedaily.com/model/hailey-bieber-rhode-skin-2022-restock-details. Nonetheless, lower than per week after the launch, Purna Khatau (“Khatau”) and Phoebe Vickers (“Vickers”), principals of Rhode-NYC, filed a lawsuit in opposition to Bieber’s Rhode model alleging trademark infringement.7Supra, notice 4.
In 2017, Rhode-NYC, LLC obtained its first trademark registration for a clothes line referred to as Rhode.8Id. When submitting a trademark, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO) categorize merchandise (or items) and companies into particular lessons.9Get Able to Search – Classification and Design Search Codes, U.S. PAT. & TRADEMARK OFFICE (Sept. 21, 2022), https://www.uspto.gov/logos/search/get-ready-search-classification-and-design. Over the subsequent a number of years, Rhode-NYC filed trademark functions for ICs together with purses and footwear (nonetheless pending), and for kids’s clothes, males’s clothes, sun shades, jewellery, blankets, textiles, and hair equipment, and so forth.10Supra, notice 4. Up to now, Rhode-NYC has not filed any trademark functions in IC 3, which covers Cosmetics and Cleansing Merchandise.11Supra, notice 7.
In February 2020, Bieber filed an “intent-to-use software supposed to carry her place in line for the eventual use of ‘RHODE’ in IC 3 for magnificence merchandise.”12Id. When USPTO’s Inspecting Legal professional didn’t discover any probability of confusion between Rhode-NYC and Bieber’s RHODE mark, her mark was revealed for opposition.13Id. Rhode-NYC didn’t oppose the trademark software when Bieber’s RHODE mark was revealed.14Id. As a substitute, Rhode-NYC filed a authorized injunction citing infringement and unfair competitors in opposition to Bieber’s RHODE model.15Id.
Equally, Kardashian, the 41-year-old billionaire, has an intensive resume spearheading a number of collaborations with quite a few manufacturers in addition to founding a number of firms.16Rachel Askinasi, How Kim Kardashian constructed her $1.8 Billion Empire, Insider, Sep. 7, 2022, https://www.insider.com/photos-kim-kardashian-west-career-evolution-2019-2. Nonetheless, one in all Kardashian’s newest ventures into the sweetness world, SKNN BY KIM, has landed her in the course of a lawsuit accusing her of trademark infringement.17Press Launch, COTY, Kim Kardashian Launches SKKN by Kim, a New Line of Excessive-Efficiency Skincare in Partnership with COTY (Might 31, 2022). On June 21, 2022, Kardashian launched SKKN BY KIM by its direct-to-consumer web site.18Id. Following SKKN BY KIM’s launch, Magnificence Ideas, a small magnificence enterprise, sued Kardashian, alleging infringement on the “trademarked title of a Brooklyn-based Black-owned small enterprise referred to as Magnificence Ideas, which offers salon companies below the title ‘SKKN+.’”19Supra, notice 4. Since August 2018, Magnificence Ideas has used the SKKN+ brand for its Class 3 services, they usually allege they solely realized of SKKN BY KIM when Kardashian filed seventeen trademark functions in July 2021.20Id. Magnificence Ideas declare contains “trademark infringement and unfair competitors, reverse confusion, illegal misleading acts, and enterprise practices in violation of New York Gen. Bus. Regulation § 349-50.”21David H. Siegel, Do you Know SKKN? No, Not that One. The Worry of Reverse Confusion for Small Enterprise House owners, 12 NAT’L L. REV. 314 (2022). On March 28, 2021, two days earlier than Kardashian filed her first SKKN BY KIM trademark software, Magnificence Ideas filed its personal trademark software for SKKN+. Resulting from Kardashians’ distinguished celeb standing, coupled with the similarity between the 2 manufacturers names and items/companies, Magnificence Ideas alleges that SKKN BY KIM has overshadowed its model and brought on confusion amongst shoppers between the 2 firms.22Id.
The Lanham Act, ratified in 1946, serves because the premier supply of federal trademark regulation in america.23Lanham Act, LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE, https://www.regulation.cornell.edu/wex/lanham_act#:~:textual content=Thepercent20Actpercent20providespercent20forpercent20a,markpercent20ispercent20likelypercent20topercent20occur (final visited Feb. 3, 2023). To ascertain trademark infringement below the Lanham Act, the plaintiff should reveal that (1) they’ve a legitimate and legally protectable mark; (2) they personal the mark; and that (3) the defendant’s use of the mark to determine items or companies creates a probability of confusion for shoppers.2415 USC § 1125(a). Right here, parts (1) and (2) usually are not at challenge, as each Bieber and Kardashian have a legitimate mark that they personal. As a substitute, this dispute facilities across the probability of confusion that their respective marks could trigger inside industrial actions.
Courts use a number of components to find out whether or not using a defendant’s trademark is confusingly related such that the products and/or companies are so interrelated that customers would mistakenly imagine that the products and/or companies are the identical.25Supra, notice 4. Particularly, the Second Circuit has introduced eight “Polaroid components” to think about when assessing if there’s a robust probability of client confusion.26New York Metropolis Triathlon, LLC v. NYC Triathlon Membership, Inc., 704 F.Supp.2nd 305, 314 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (citing Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Elecs. Corp., 287 F.2nd 492, 495 (2nd Cir.1961)) These components embrace: “(1) the energy of the plaintiff’s mark; (2) the similarity of the plaintiff’s and defendant’s marks; (3) the aggressive proximity of the services or products; (4) the probability that the plaintiff will ‘bridge the hole’ and supply a services or products just like the defendant’s; (5) precise confusion between the services or products; (6) good religion on the defendant’s half; (7) the standard of the defendant’s services or products; and (8) the sophistication of patrons.”27Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Elecs. Corp., 287 F.2nd 492, 495 (2nd Cir.1961). When adjudicating trademark infringement claims, courts weighs all eight of those components.28Supra, notice 28. Whereas it’s tough to foretell the end result of both case, analyzing the related Polaroid components could permit us to make sound predictions.
For instance, the courtroom will have a look at the similarity between the respective marks. In Bieber’s case, RHODE and Rhode-NYC are fairly related; nevertheless, the marks point out the supply of various classes of products. Thus, the marks are unlikely to have aggressive proximity with one another available in the market, as they relate to completely different industrial areas. One doable argument is that RHODE and Rhode-NYC will unlikely result in important confusion, regardless of the similarity of their marks, since each mark holders retain robust marks in vastly completely different classes. Kardashian’s mark can be just like the SKKN+ mark owned by Magnificence Ideas. The similarity between the 2 marks will increase the probability of precise confusion between the merchandise, which is unfavorable to Kardashian. Nonetheless, celebrities of such recognition and stature as Kardashian and Bieber have benefits that small companies lack, together with better monetary sources, robust authorized illustration, and the assist of thousands and thousands of followers. In mild of those benefits inherent in any high-profile case, the respective senior customers (Khatau and Vickers for Rhode-NYC and Magnificence Ideas for SKKN+) would want to current robust proof reflecting client confusion and any proof of dangerous religion by the junior customers.
As Bieber’s authorized journey continues, she has been granted a small victory by Decide Schofield who denied Rhode-NYC’s movement for a preliminary injunction.29Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Lands Win in First Spherical of Lawsuit over Model Title, The Trend Regulation, June 25, 2022, https://www.thefashionlaw.com/hailey-biebers-rhode-wins-first-round-in-lawsuit-over-brand-name/. Particularly, the Decide states that the “proximity of the marks and their competitiveness with one another” weighed in favor of Bieber’s model, permitting her to proceed utilizing her mark in commerce.30Id. Each Bieber’s and Kardashian’s fits contain the idea of reverse confusion, which is a worry for small enterprise house owners within the magnificence and vogue area, as bigger firms dominate the market with their mark inflicting shoppers to imagine the 2 marks are associated or affiliated with one another.31Supra, notice 4. Accordingly, the Rhode-NYC founders said that they’d no alternative however to file go well with in opposition to Bieber’s skin-care line to guard its rising enterprise from a celeb with an immense following.32Emily Kirkpatrick, Decide Guidelines Hailey Bieber Can Proceed Selling Rhode Pores and skin-Care Line Amid Trademark Infringement Lawsuit, Vainness Honest, July 26, 2022, https://www.vanityfair.com/model/2022/07/hailey-bieber-rhode-skin-care-trademark-infringement-lawsuit-preliminary-injunction-denied. Magnificence Ideas has additionally adopted this “bottom-up” approach in continuing with authorized motion in opposition to Kardashian. In each instances, neither aspect seems to be backing down of their combat to guard their companies and logos.
Written by: Anna Gordon and Danielle Schwartz
Anna and Danielle are 2024 J.D. Candidates at Brooklyn Regulation College
1 Lauryn Harris, Annotation, Too Little, Too Late: FTC Tips on “Misleading and Deceptive” Endorsements by Social Media Influencers, 62 How. L. J. 947 (Initially revealed in 2019).
3 Mykenna Maniece, Why Hailey Bieber and Kim Kardashian are Being Sued over their Magnificence Manufacturers, Betches, July 6, 2022, https://betches.com/why-hailey-bieber-and-kim-kardashian-are-being-sued-over-their-beauty-brands/.
4 Heather Antoine, Hailey Bieber’s New Skincare Line Welcomed with Infringement Lawsuit, Forbes, June 30, 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalentertainment/.
5 Danielle Cohen, Kim Kardashian is Being Sued Over SKKN, The Lower, June 29, 2022, https://www.thecut.com/2022/06/kim-kardashian-skkn-lawsuit.
6 Supra, notice 4.
7 Margaret Blatz, Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Pores and skin is Getting a Entire Restock,Elite Dailey, Aug. 10, 2022, https://www.elitedaily.com/style/hailey-bieber-rhode-skin-2022-restock-details.
8 Supra, notice 4.
10 Get Able to Search – Classification and Design Search Codes, U.S. Pat. & Trademark Workplace (Sept. 21, 2022), https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/search/get-ready-search-classification-and-design.
11 Supra, notice 4.
12 Supra, notice 7.
17 Rachel Askinasi, How Kim Kardashian constructed her $1.8 Billion Empire, Insider, Sep. 7, 2022, https://www.insider.com/photos-kim-kardashian-west-career-evolution-2019-2.
18 Press Launch, COTY, Kim Kardashian Launches SKKN by Kim, a New Line of Excessive-Efficiency Skincare in Partnership with COTY (Might 31, 2022).
20 Supra, notice 4.
22 David H. Siegel, Do you Know SKKN? No, Not that One. The Worry of Reverse Confusion for Small Enterprise House owners, 12 Nat’l L. Rev. 314 (2022).
24 Lanham Act, Authorized Data Institute, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/lanham_act#:~:text=The%20Act%20provides%20for%20a,mark%20is%20likely%20to%20occur (final visited Feb. 3, 2023).
25 15 USC § 1125(a).
26 Supra, notice 4.
27 New York Metropolis Triathlon, LLC v. NYC Triathlon Membership, Inc., 704 F.Supp.2nd 305, 314 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (citing Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Elecs. Corp., 287 F.2nd 492, 495 (2nd Cir.1961))
28 Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Elecs. Corp., 287 F.2nd 492, 495 (2nd Cir.1961).
29 Supra, notice 28.
30 Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Lands Win in First Spherical of Lawsuit over Model Title, The Trend Regulation, June 25, 2022, https://www.thefashionlaw.com/hailey-biebers-rhode-wins-first-round-in-lawsuit-over-brand-name/.
32 Supra, notice 4.
33 Emily Kirkpatrick, Decide Guidelines Hailey Bieber Can Proceed Selling Rhode Pores and skin-Care Line Amid Trademark Infringement Lawsuit, Vainness Honest, July 26, 2022, https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2022/07/hailey-bieber-rhode-skin-care-trademark-infringement-lawsuit-preliminary-injunction-denied.