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Back in 2007 it was hard to imagine
that the Kardashian family would be a household name, for better or worse. The daily lives of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe,
along with the rest of their family and beaus have become so ingrained in pop
culture in the 2000’s, it is staggering.
Hard to believe anyone would even know who Kim, then only known for
appearing in a home made sex tape, would become a fashion and entrepreneurial
icon, along with her sisters.
Of course, fame can bring with it a
significant risk of litigation. The
Kardashians are not new to being sued. From lawsuits filed by a chronic lawsuit
filer, to being sued by customers of QuickTrim, a product they endorsed, the
Kardashians have paid their fair share of attorney fees. The latest suit, filed this past week puts
the Kardashians under fire for potential trademark infringement, a pretty
serious offense due to the statutory damages a trademark infringement win
imposes on an infringer.
The Kardashian sisters are well known
for endorsing products in exchange for large fees. The family is estimated to have an annual net
worth of over $100 million combined.
This recent lawsuit concerns their recently launched beauty product
line, Khroma Beauty. Kim Kardashian is
said to have come up with the name for the Khroma Beauty line. The deal to endorse is lucrative. It involved a $1 million payment for
licensing rights and royalties of $4.6 - $5.2 million.
This past July, the owner
of Kroma, a
cosmetics company owned by Lee Tillett, sent a cease and desist letter to Boldface
Licensing + Branding, the company behind Khroma Beauty. Boldface made a pre-emptive attack and filed
suit in order to get a judge to declare that Kroma was just a descriptive name
and that Khroma’s new line would not hurt Tillett’s company. Well, this past
week Kroma responded in a suit and said "The false association is damaging
(Khroma to Kroma) … and threatens to destroy its business."
Tillett’s business is seeking damages
in the amount of $10 million. It’s
actually an exceptionally high number, but if it an be shown the Kardashians,
or more precisely, Boldface, knowingly tried to infringe on the Kroma brand, it
could be a significant financial blow to the Kardashians nonetheless. Funnily enough, late last year seven-employee
cosmetics maker Chroma Makeup Studio sued Khroma Beauty in a similar suit for
infringing on their brand. If it gets to
trial, ultimately the courts will look to see if Khroma will create a
likelihood of confusion for consumers. I
doubt it will get that far. Ultimately,
with the Kardashians behind it, Khroma stands to build a significant brand, and
it is probable that the Kardashian’s attorneys will encourage a settlement and
those filing suits will get a little payday, and pave the way for the next
Kardashian driven brand.
Rondero de Mosier is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, California,
New York and Illinois. He is a partner
at G&M Law PLLC. His
practice specializes in Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property
rights. In his spare time he enjoys
watching television and films, and writing about it. Follow him on Twitter @showbizattorney, or
e-mail him at email@example.com.