The Kardashian/Jenners – America’s most famous reality television family – have been hit with their fair share of copycat claims and corresponding lawsuit. Here is a brief history of the intellectual property infringement and related allegations that have been lodged against them – from the drama surrounding their failed Kardashian Kroma beauty line to claims from indie designers that the sisters stole their original designs …
1. NOVEMBER 2012: Chroma Makeup Studio LLC v. Boldface Group (Lawsuit)
After the Kardashians launched their Khroma Beauty collection in 2012, Chroma Makeup studio, a Los Angeles-based makeup studio, filed suit against the sisters and their licensing company, Boldface Licensing + Branding for trademark infringement. Chroma co-owner Michael Rey filed suit in the Central District of California’s Western Division court in Los Angeles, alleging that his company had been using the Chroma trademark for 12 years at the time of filing and that not only was the sisters’ brand infringing his trademark, it was creating consumer confusion and tarnishing his brand’s image.
UPDATE: This case was settled out of court in January 2014.
2. SEPTEMBER 2014: Kroma Makeup EU LLC v. Boldface Licensing + Branding (Lawsuit)
After the Kardashians settled suit with Lee Tillett over the KROMA trademark, Kroma Makeup EU, the exclusive European licensee of the KROMA collection, filed suit against them in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Kroma EU arm filed a multi-million-dollar trademark infringement suit against the Kardashian sisters, alleging that they began marketing their competing makeup line after Tillett began discussions with Kim Kardashian to represent the KROMA collection. The complaint also notes that although an undisclosed settlement was reached in 2014 between the American arm of Tillett’s complaint and the Kardashians, Tillett refused to split the settlement money with Kroma EU.
UPDATE: After suffering losses before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Kroma EU has asked the Supreme Court – in August 2019 – to hear its case against the famous sisters.
3. OCTOBER 2015: Jenners, Pac Sun Named in Trademark Infringement Lawsuit (Lawsuit)
The two youngest members of the reality television family are embroiled in a trademark battle. Kendall and Kylie Jenner, who launched a clothing collaboration with Pacific Sunwear in 2013, have been named in a trademark infringement lawsuit in connection with one of their designs. The garment at issue: a t-shirt bearing the slogan: “RUN AWAY, FALL IN LOVE, NEVER RETURN.”
UPDATE: The Jenners and Pac Sun settled the suit in January 2016.
4. NOVEMBER 2015: Just Games Interactive Entertainment v. Glu Mobile (Lawsuit)
According to this lawsuit, which was filed in California federal court by Kung Fu Factory, Kris Jenner and co. stole the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game from a development company after working on it with them for several months. Kung Fu Factory, which had a hand in developing Mortal Combat and other games, alleged that Jenner ran off with copyrighted material that the company shared with the reality television mom while brainstorming for the project. As a result, the company filed a $10 million+ lawsuit against Jenner and Glu Mobile, another development company.
UPDATE: The case was settled in February 2016.
5. MARCH 2016: KDB Pty Ltd v. Kylie Jenner
Not quite litigation but a legal proceeding nonetheless, Kylie Jenner was named in several trademark proceedings this spring. After filing trademark applications for registration for just her first name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in April and November 2015, Australian pop-star Kylie Minogue stepped in. Minogue’s legal team filed to oppose Jenner’s “Kylie” trademark applications, arguing that Minogue is the real thing, whereas Jenner is merely a “supporting character” in the Keeping up with the Kardashians television show that is arguably much better known for her active media presence and her “photographic exhibitionism and controversial posts.”
UPDATE: After what appear to have been successful discussions, Minogue opted to withdraw her oppositions (which were consolidated into one proceeding) in early 2017, meaning that the parties were formally putting their fight to bed. (It is worth noting that the oppositions were dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Minogue could have reinitiated the fight prior to the registration of Jenner’s marks).
6. NOVEMBER 2016: Kylie Jenner Accused of Copying Cosmetics Imagery
Kylie Jenner came under fire for her wildly popular makeup line, with the reality television star was accused of repeatedly co-opting the imagery of Vlada Haggerty, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist, in connection with her Kylie Cosmetics collection.
7. APRIL 2017: Xposure Photos (UK) LTD., v. Khloe Kardashian (Lawsuit)
Khloe Kardashian has been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit after posting a photo of herself on her Instagram account this fall. According to a suit filed by Xposure Photos in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, a federal court in Los Angeles, the reality television star has run afoul of federal copyright law by posting a photo of herself “going for a meal at David Grutman’s Miami restaurant, Komodo” without licensing the photo from Xposure, the copyright holder.
UPDATE: According to a March 2018 mediation report, the case was “completely settled.”
In what is proving to be an increasingly common occurrence, the Kardashian/Jenners have again been called out for copying. New York-based brand PluggedNYC, which is known for its colorful camouflage pieces, took to Instagram to call out Kylie Jenner’s new “Camo Collection,” alleging that Jenner “cut and pasted” their existing camo designs for own line. Meanwhile, Dbleudazzled designer Destiney Bleu called out Khloe Kardashian for copying, alleging that Kardashian’s team allegedly ordered an array of garments from indie label, dbleudazzled, before the reality star included lookalike designs in her latest Good American collection.
9. JUNE 2017: Jenners Sued Over “Vintage” T-Shirts (Lawsuits)
This week Kendall and Kylie Jenner unveiled a line of $125 “vintage t-shirts” featuring their faces stamped atop old shirt designs from classic rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, and The Doors, as well as rap legends Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Just hours later, following much public outcry and a pair of cease and desist letters (from the manager of The Doors and the mother of the late Notorious B.I.G.), the t-shirts have been pulled from the sisters’ online store.
(a) Michael Miller, who is the copyright holder of two photos depicting Tupac Shakur, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Kendall and Kylie Jenner in connection with the uber-controversial vintage tees, alleging that the famed reality television sisters “have misappropriated and wrongfully exploited” two copyright-protected photos without his authorization, thereby giving rise to copyright infringement claims.
UPDATE: According to a May 2018 mediation report, “Mediation was held on March 9, 2018, and the case has been completely settled.”
(b) In a separate suit, Al Pereira – who is the copyright holder of the photo depicting Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. and Redman that appears on one style of Kendall + Kylie’s controversial vintage-inspired tees – alleges that the famed reality television sisters “copied [his] photo and placed it on a t-shirt to sell to the public,” thereby giving rise to copyright infringement claims.
UPDATE: The plaintiff filed to voluntarily dismiss the case in January 2018, suggesting the parties settled the matter out of court.
10. JULY 2017: Sara Pope v. Kylie Jenner (Lawsuit)
According to the BBC, UK-based artist Sara Pope is taking copyright action against Kylie Jenner over the bright neon lips seen in a trailer for the star’s new reality series, which premiered in May 2017. An image very similar to Sara’s Temptation Neon is seen in the promotion for “Life Of Kylie.”
11. JULY 2017: Kirsten Kjaer Weis v. Kim Kardashian (Lawsuit)
On the same day as the above suit filed against Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian was slapped with a lawsuit by Kirsten Kjaer Weis, a Danish makeup artist, who alleges that Kardashian is infringing her brand by way of Kardashian’s newly-launched beauty company, which bears the “KKW” trademark. According to Weis’s lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, she has made use of her federally registered “KW” trademark since September 2010 on cosmetics and that Kim K is infringing that mark with her KKW cosmetics line.
UPDATE: The case was settled in November 2018.
12. JULY 2017: Snap Light, LLC et al v. KimsAPrincess Inc. (Lawsuit)
Kim Kardashian is being sued for $100 million over her go-to iPhone case. According to a new lawsuit filed by Snap Light, LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Kardashian’s company, Kimsaprincess Inc., is on the hook for promoting LuMee, the light-up phone case ideal for taking selfies, which infringes Snap Light’s own patent-protected iPhone case.
UPDATE: The case was settled in March 2018.
13. DECEMBER 2017: Kim Kardashian’s Kids Supply v. Vetements, Comme des Garçons
Kim and Kanye came under fire in December 2017 after their kids collection was revealed to include some oh-so-similar looking garments. In particular, one Kids Supply bomber bore a more-than-incidental resemblance to a Comme des Garçons x Kosho & Co. souvenir jacket, and another silver-sequined dress was a near replica of the miniature Vetements dress that daughter North West rather famously wore to match her mom during New York Fashion Week last fall.
14. APRIL 2018: Pizzaboyzzz v. Kendall Jenner (Lawsuit)
Kendall Jenner only just launched her new Beats 1 music show, which Apple Music describes as “a monthly living room pizza party,” and she has already been threatened with a lawsuit. Thanks to the brand-new Apple Music audio show venture, which Jenner launched along with DJ Daniel Chetrit, entitled Pizza Boys, the reality star-turned-model has found herself on the receiving end of a strongly-worded cease and desist letter from Robert Karaguezian, the founder of a Los Angeles-based brand and artist collective called Pizzaboyzzz.
UPDATE: The case was settled in July 2018.
15. APRIL 2018: KKW Body v. Jean-Paul Gaultier
Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier took to his brand’s Instagram account this week to shed light on the visual similarity between his classic body-shaped fragrance bottles and the newly-revealed fragrance, KKW Body by Kim Kardashian. The famed couturier seemed to suggest that the reality star-turned-budding consumer goods mogul was inspired by his own 25-year old fragrance range.
16. JULY 2018: Vibes Media, LLC, v. KKW Fragrance, LLC (Lawsuit)
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.
UPDATE: The court granted the parties’ joint motion to dismiss in February 2019 in light of a settlement agreement.
17. FEBRUARY 2019: David Liebensohn v. Kimsaprincess, Inc. and Kim Kardashian West (Lawsuit)
Kim Kardashian is being sued for allegedly stealing the name and idea for her multi-million dollar grossing Kimoji app. App developer David Liebensohn filed a $100 million fraud and breach of contract suit against Kardashian, alleging that he and his team created the “Kimoji” venture and agreed to a partnership deal with Kardashian in 2014, only to have Kardashian swiftly cut him out less than a month later and create the app with her own team.
UPDATE: As of August 2019, Liebensohn moved to voluntarily dismiss the case (without prejudice), which will now be settle by way of arbitration.
18. JULY 2019: Kim Kardashian v. Emilio Pucci
Kim Kardashian is being called out for allegedly copying sunglasses for her collab with eyewear brand Carolina Lemke from ones that were first shown by Emilio Pucci, and which 38-year-old Kardashian was spotted wearing just last summer.
19. JANUARY 2020: Saeed Bolden v. SKIMS BODY, INC. and KIM KARDASHIAN (Lawsuit)
Kim Kardashian and her shapewear venture SKIMS are on the receiving end of a new copyright infringement lawsuit. According to the complaint that Saeed Bolden filed in a New York federal court on Wednesday, Kardashian is on the hook for her “unauthorized reproduction and public display of a copyrighted photograph of [herself] and [husband] Kayne West,” which was taken by and is “owned by Bolden,” a New York-based professional photographer, and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in his name.
20. JANUARY 2020: Klauber Brothers, Inc., v. The Kylie Shop, Inc., Kendall Jenner, Inc., Kylie Jenner, Inc. (Lawsuit)
According to the complaint that it filed in a California federal court on Wednesday, lace-making company Klauber Brothers is accusing the corporate entities of the wildly-famous reality television sisters, and Kylie’s e-commerce entity The Kylie Shop, as well as Nordstrom and Jet.com of running afoul of federal copyright law by hijacking one of its lace patterns, and using it to make and sell products – from thong underwear to a mini slip dress – under the Kendall + Kylie collection name.
21. MAY 2020: dbleudazzled, LLC v. Khloe Kardashian and Good American (Lawsuit)
According to the common law trade dress infringement, misappropriation, fraud and deceit, and unfair competition complaint that it filed in a California state court on May 29, Los Angeles-based d.bleu.dazzled claims that between 2016 and 2017, Khloe Kardashian – by way of her team – “purchased and borrowed numerous pieces of [d.bleu.dazzled] clothing, under the false pretense that the clothing items were for [the 35-year old star’s] personal use.” The problem? Instead of actually wearing the garments, as her team had led d.bleu.dazzled to believe would happen, Kardashian allegedly copied them for the clothing brand that she was secretly working on at the time.
UPDATE: According to the notice of settlement that counsel for dbleudazzled, LLC lodged with the California Superior Court in Los Angeles last month, the parties have come to a confidential resolution, prompting d.bleu.dazzled to voluntarily dismiss the $10 million fraud and deceit, common law trade dress infringement, misappropriation, and unfair competition case that it initiated against Kardashian and her 5-year-old brand.
22. JULY 2020: Christian Cowan v. Khloe Kardashian
Designer Christian Cowan called out Khloe Kardashian for allegedly taking samples that he loaned to her and selling them on her Kardashian Kloset website. “Why are my runway samples I loaned you being sold on your website?,” Cowan wrote on his Instagram Story. According to the New York Post, Cowan alleged that he has reached out to Kardashian’s team multiple times,” only to be ignored by the mega-famous reality star. “We’ve emailed 3 times and had no response,” he said.
23. OCTOBER 2022: Marine Serre v. Kendall + Kylie
Kendall and Kylie’s eponymous label was called out for allegedly taking a bit too much inspiration from Marine Serre. As first reported by Dazed, some new loungewear from the Jenners’ label bears a little moon print that is reminiscent of the crescent moon that appears on no shortage of offerings from burgeoning young brand Marine Serre. Among the big-name figures that have been spotted in Marine Serre-printed garments? Beyoncé, K-pop stars Sandara Park and Jennie Kim, singers Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa … and Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner.
24. JUNE 2022: Beauty Concepts LLC v. Kim Kardashian West, et al (Lawsuit)
A budding trademark opposition battle over Kim Kardashian’s newly-launched skincare brand SKKN by Kim has resulted in a new lawsuit, pitting Kardashian (who is named as a defendant in her personal capacity in the complaint), her corporate entity Kimsaprincess Inc., and Coty, Inc. against a similarly-named company that claims the mega-star and her cosmetics manufacturing collaborator are on the hook for trademark infringement and unfair competition, as well as civil conspiracy under New York common law, for launching the “confusingly similar” SKKN by Kim brand and using the mark on goods and services that are “identical to, or highly related to, services offered by Beauty Concepts under [its own] SKKN+ trademark.”
*This article was initially published in March 2016 and has been updated accordingly.