Kim K & The Battle of the Brands

Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian announced that she would be rebranding her “KKW” skincare line as “SKNN by KIM” which fans immediately noticed was nearly identical to Lori Harvey’s, Steve and Marjorie Harvey’s daughter, skincare brand, “SKN by LH”…even down to the logo and packaging, as well as very similar to a small, Black-owned business which is branded as “SKKN+.”

According to Black Enterprise, back in August 2021, SKNN+’s owner, Cydnie Lunsford, issued a cease and desist to Kim and her team for attempting to infringe upon her brand by registering Kim’s requested trademark of SKNN. Lunsford has been using the name SKNN+ since July 2017. In a 2021 article by Forbes, in an email that Lunsford sent to them, she noted that she has painstakingly built my successful small business with my own sweat equity, hard work and research. It’s clear that I established my brand first…As a young black woman, my mission with SKKN+ is to provide quality skincare and curated full body experiences to enhance each client’s self-care regimen. The (+) represents a hands-on transformative aesthetic experience that elevates the body, mind, and spirit.

At the time of the Forbes article, Kim and her team had yet to respond to the cease and desist. However, since then, Kim’s attorney Michael Rhodes stated that he doesn’t think “they’ve done anything deserving of legal action.” But the question is how, as an attorney, could one make that statement in a legal space?

Well despite what Kim’s lawyer thinks, the USPTO <United States Patent and Trademark Office> seems to have a different opinion of Kim’s team’s filing of trademark applications for “SKKN” and “SKKN by KIM”. As of May 18, 2022, Kim’s trademark application for SKKN by KIM in relation to the skincare line has been suspended due to “likelihood of confusion” with guess who’s brand…yes! You guessed right, Cyndie Lunsford’s brand SKKN+.

The details of the Suspension Letter state:

The pending application(s) below has an earlier filing date or effective filing date than applicant's application. If the mark in the application(s) below registers, the USPTO may refuse registration of applicant's mark under Section 2(d) because of a likelihood of confusion with the registered mark(s). 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see 37 C.F.R. §2.83; TMEP §1208.02(c). Action on this application is suspended until the prior-filed application(s) below either registers or abandons. 37 C.F.R. §2.83(c). Information relevant to the application(s) below is provided in this letter.

- U.S. Application Serial No(s). 90608147

Lunsford is the owner of U.S. Application Serial No. 90608147 and filed her application on March 28, 2021, Kim followed 2 days later with her application on March 30, 2021.

At this time, Lori Harvey has yet to speak out on Kim’s usage of similar name, logo, and packaging in comparison to her link SKN by LH, however it is not looking likely for Kim to be able to sale her skincare line under the name of SKNN by KIM should Cydnie Lunsford’s application for SKKN+ be approved. We will have to see how this all plays out.

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