The cosmetics mogul is accused of stealing the skin care line's logo from the Brooklyn-based company Beauty Concepts.
Kim Kardashian is facing a lawsuit over her new skincare lines, SKKN and SKKN BY Kim. The reality star and cosmetics mogul is accused of "willful infringement" of an allegedly pre-existing brand name and logo, in a lawsuit filed by Beauty Concepts, a small, Brooklyn-based cosmetics company.
In the lawsuit, filed on Tuesday and obtained by ET, Beauty Concepts -- owned by esthetician Cydnie Lunsford -- claims that they have used the brand name SKKN+ since August 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that Beauty Concepts got in touch with Kardashian and Coty -- the cosmetics company working with Kardashian on the line, and claims that Kardashian and Coty "did not cease and desist but, to the contrary, upon information and belief, willfully and deliberately chose to proceed with their plans to use the SKKN and SKKN BY KIM brand in total disregard of Beauty Concepts’ superior trademark rights."
Kardashian's lawyer, Michael Rhodes, denied the allegations made in the lawsuit, telling ET on Wednesday, "This lawsuit is not what it seems. SKKN BY KIM is a new brand that follows in the footsteps of Ms. Kardashian's successful KKW line of products. Building on independent research and development, her company filed a trademark application for SKKN BY KIM to protect the new branded products."
Rhodes claims that the lawsuit is a "shakedown effort" by Beauty Concepts, and states, "We applaud Ms. Lunsford for being a small business owner and following her dreams. But that doesn’t give her the right to wrongfully claim that we’ve done something wrong."
"In its letter, Beauty Concepts claimed to own rights to a logo made up of SKKN+, and had just filed for trademark protection for that logo. The business was a one-person shop offering facials from a single Brooklyn location. The salon had no signage and was by appointment only. To our knowledge, Beauty Concepts sold no products under the SKKN+ name," Rhodes claims. "Beauty Concepts asked that we drop the SKKN name. Of course we said no. Beauty Concepts then challenged Ms. Kardashian’s trademark applications at the USPTO. Unsurprisingly, the USPTO rejected Beauty Concepts’ own SKKN+ mark saying that 'skkn' just means 'skin.'"
"Undaunted, Beauty Concepts then tried to make its business seem more than it was – it leased a new storefront, changed it website, etc," Rhodes alleges. "Several times we reached out to Beauty Concepts, trying to find a sensible path to coexistence. We pointed out that running a small esthetician business in Brooklyn does not give it the right to shut down a global skincare line. In the end, Beauty Concepts didn’t really engage with us beyond demanding a lot of money. Since we’ve done nothing wrong, we stood our ground."
In the lawsuit, Beauty Concepts claims that Kardashian and Coty "have leveraged their fame to immediately achieve great commercial success and brand awareness with the products sold under the SKKN BY KIM brand."
The lawsuit further argues that, "Were it not for the willful infringement and usurpation of the SKKN+ Brand ... Ms. Lunsford's and Beauty Concepts’ growth trajectory and future success were assured. They are now in jeopardy due to the willful and improper actions of the Defendants."
Beauty Concepts is demanding that this suit go to trial by jury, and is asking the court to award them "damages, including, but not limited to, compensatory damages, statutory damages, restitution, disgorgement of profits, enhanced damages, punitive damages, and prejudgment and post-judgment interest."
Additionally, the lawsuit is asking Kardashian and Coty to "pay for and implement a campaign of corrective advertising and to disgorge its ill-gotten gains and to withdraw all USPTO trademark applications featuring SKKN or SKKN BY KIM."
In his statement to ET, Rhodes claims, "We think the case is less about the law of trademarks and more about trying to leverage a settlement by threatening to harm Ms. Kardashian’s name and reputation. That’s not going to work and we look forward to presenting our case in court."