After threatening to file suit against Kylie Jenner last year for copying her makeup imagery (a lawsuit that never came into fruition), Vlada Haggerty has filed a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against Make Up For Ever and its parent company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In her complaint, which was filed late last week in federal court in California, the Los Angeles-based makeup artist alleges that Make Up For Ever blatantly copied her “distinctive dripping lip makeup looks" after she declined to collaborate with them.
According to Haggerty’s complaint, “Over the past year, Make Up For Ever has sent multiple written requests to Ms. Haggerty to use her distinctive dripping lip art to promote Make Up For Ever’s cosmetics.” For example, “On September 20, 2016, [Make Up For Ever] asked Ms. Haggerty if she was open to ‘a collaboration for 2017.’ Ms. Haggerty responded that she was ‘under an exclusive lip art contract’ with another major brand and that her ‘signature lip looks are off limits.’” Haggerty alleges that Make Up For Ever “responded and asked if there was ‘a possible work around.’ Ms. Haggerty followed up with a phone call and told them that there was not.”
In light of Make Up Forever's repeated attempts to secure a collaboration, Haggerty asserts that the Paris-based beauty brand “went ahead and performed its own unauthorized ‘work around,'" except it was on her. The brand has since allegedly "adopted a logo for its new line of ‘Lustrous’ cosmetics that directly copied Ms. Haggerty’s most famous trademark and copyrighted works.” The copy is “so similar,” according to Haggerty’s complaint, “that it gives consumers the false impression that Ms. Haggerty is collaborating with [Make Up For Ever] when she is not.”
Far from some light inspiration-taking, Haggerty asserts that Make Up For Ever’s new artwork for its Lustrous cosmetics logo “replicates the overall look and feel of [her] ‘Liquid Gold’ and ‘Rose Gold Lip’ Art."
Haggerty continues on to allege, "Like her copyrighted works, Make Up For Ever’s [trademark-protected] logo consists of a pair of parted lips that are ‘drenched’ or ‘dripping’ in metallic lip gloss. [Make Up Forever’s] infringing logo also borrows distinctive elements from both ‘Liquid Gold’ and ‘Rose Gold Lip Art.’ [Make Up Forever’s] infringing logo has the same rose gold hue as “Rose Gold Lip Art” and identically mimics the placement of ‘drips’ of lip gloss that are seen on the bottom lip of ‘Liquid Gold.’”
In addition, the complaint states, [Make Up Forever’s] “infringing logo features the same highlights and distinctive texture of ‘Liquid Gold.’”
Such similarity, according to Haggerty, has “caused actual consumer confusion. This consumer confusion has been intensified by the fact [Make Up Forever’s] infringing logo differs significantly from the logo that Defendants have historically use on their cosmetics.” The complaint states that “since [Make Up For Ever] began using the infringing logo, many consumers have expressed actual confused as to whether Plaintiff is the source of, or otherwise affiliated with, Make Up For Ever’s ‘Lustrous’ cosmetics,” particularly on Instagram.
As a result, Haggerty is seeking injunctive relief (which, if granted, would require Make Up For Ever to immediately and permanently cease all use of the allegedly infringing logo) and monetary damages.
According to a statement from Haggerty, "Large corporations too often think they can steal designs from individual artists, especially women, without payment or consequences. That ends here."
UPDATED (AUGUST 22, 2018): According to a statement from Haggerty, the parties have managed to settle their dispute out of court. Haggerty posted on Instagram, stating, "As you all probably know, I have recently had a dispute with Make Up For Ever. Protecting my rights and the rights of artists is important to me, and I am happy to report we have reached a confidential resolution."
The LVMH-owned beauty brand confirmed the settlement on its own Instagram on Wednesday, writing: "The makeup art of the wonderful @vladamua was an inspiration for our Lustrous 2017 Holiday Special. We have reached a confidential resolution with her and look forward to her continued success."
* The case is Vladamua, LLC, v. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, S.E., et al, 2:18-cv-128 (C.D.Cal).