In a prior blog post, we read about the fashion giant Zara bullying the small fashion brand House of Zana in a trademark battle, the results of which are still unknown. Today let’s take a look at the flip side of this trademark battle coin- a small company bullying a large global brand. Are celebrities and large brands being targeted over trademarks just as much as, or even more than small brands?
Kim Kardashian’s new skin care brands, SKKN, and SKKN by Kim, are the subject of a trademark infringement suit. A Brooklyn-based beauty company, Beauty Concepts (BC) claims that they own the trademark rights to “SKKN+,” and that Kim Kardashian’s line will cause a likelihood of confusion among consumers. Kim’s attorneys claim that this is just a huge scheme by BC to attempt to score a large settlement amount from the world-renowned celebrity. There isn’t much information out there about what exactly is happening from BC’s side, but the comments made by Kim’s attorneys surely make BC look like scammers.
Prior to this suit, BC wrote a letter to Kim Kardashian after Kim applied for trademark rights for her new brands. The letter claimed that BC already owned trademark rights to their logo “SKKN+”. This was not true. At the time, BC was a one-person, one-location store that offered facials and sold no other products. After learning about Kim’s new brand, BC changed their website and leased a new store in an effort to make their business seem like more than it actually was. The truth of the matter was that BC had only recently applied for trademark protection at the time they sent the letter to Kim’s attorneys. Additionally, later on, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected BC’s trademark application on the grounds that their mark simply meant skin and thus cannot be offered protection. This battle between the two is still ongoing, just like the battle between Zara and House of Zana.
Do you think there’s more to the story from BC’s side? Is this really just an attempt by BC to make some money off of Kim K.? Is there a victim and a perpetrator in this situation, and if so, who’s who? Do you think these types of situations typically have victims and perpetrators? I don’t have the answer to all these questions, but they’re certainly interesting to think about. What do you think?