Kim Kardashian has been hit with yet another lawsuit for allegedly stealing another company’s trademark-protected logo – the latest in a long line of litigation and copying claims for the reality television family. According to the complaint that Vibes Media filed in a federal court in Illinois this week, KKW Fragrance is on the hook for selling a Kimoji fragrance in a bottle that looks a bit too much like the Chicago-based marketing company’s federally registered “Vibes” trademark.
Vibes Media claims that KKW’s Vibes perfume “comes in a bottle that is a close facsimile of [its federally] registered Vibes logo,” which consists of the word “Vibes” inside a black thought bubble and which it has been using “continuously since January 2011.” In addition to using a fragrance bottle that mimics Vibes Media’s trademark, KKW is “packing the infringing bottle … inside a box that is emblazoned with the infringing logo.”
Due to the visual similarities between the two parties’ “Vibes” thought-bubble graphics, Vibes Media claims that it is running afoul of trademark law. "There is a strong likelihood that consumers will be confused into believing that [KKW’s] Vibes perfume is [a Vibes Media] product or that it is authorized, endorsed, sponsored, or approved by [Vibes Media]," the company argues in its complaint. (Note: Such “confusion” is the key inquiry in a trademark infringement matter).
Alternatively, Vibes Media claims, “Due to [KKW’s] affiliation with high-profile celebrities (i.e., the Kardashians), it is highly likely that consumers will view [Vibes Media’s] products as somehow being affiliated with [KKW] – in other words, there is a high likelihood of reverse confusion as a result of [KKW’s] use of such a confusingly similar logo.”
Vibes Media asserts that it is bringing its trademark infringement and unfair competition action “to protect one of its most valuable assets, namely, the goodwill and consumer recognition associated with its trademarked logo,” in light of KKW’s “intentional copying of the registered Vibes logo in order to improperly and unfairly trade on the substantial goodwill that [Vibes Media] has achieved through its marketing efforts and years of customer satisfaction.”
The company is seeking injunctive relief, which would force KKW to immediately and permanently cease all sales of the “Vibes” fragrance and packaging. Vibes Media Media also wants monetary damages in connection with the sale of the fragrance – which according to reports led Kardashian to bring in upwards of $5 million in sales in a matter of minutes when it was released alongside her other new $45 fragrances, Kimoji Peach and Cherry.
The lawsuit at hand, which will likely be settled long before trial, comes on the heels of Danish makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis suing Kardashian, alleging that she is infringing her “KW” trademark by way of the KKW brand. Kardashian has since responded to that trademark infringement suit, denying that she "knowingly, willingly, and deliberately" infringed Weis' federally registered “KW” trademark.
* The case is Vibes Media, LLC, v. KKW Fragrance, LLC, 1: :18-cv-04910 (N.D. Ill).