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Image: Vladamua

The makeup artist that took on Kylie Jenner and LVMH’s Make Up For Ever for copying her signature style is now going up against Guess. Vlada Haggerty filed suit late last week in a California federal court accusing the multi-billion dollar Los Angeles-based brand of “illegally and intentionally misappropriating [her] Liquid Gold Lip Art photograph by incorporating the image into their clothing,” leaving her with “no choice but to file this lawsuit seeking damages that [her company] has suffered.”

According to the lawsuit suit, which was filed by Haggerty’s holding company Vladamua, LLC, she is “a Los Angeles-based makeup artist and photographer whose works of makeup art have been featured in fashion publications and art galleries all over all the world.” In particular, Haggerty “is especially well-known for her works of lip art, which feature close-up photographs of lips decorated with unique makeup designs,” including Liquid Gold, a photo of which Haggerty says she posted on her Instagram account on or about May 5, 2015.

Fast forward more than 3 years to August 2018 and Haggerty says that she sent Guess a cease and desist letter, alerting the brand to her rights in the Liquid Gold work and demanding that it cease its use of the image. Moreover, Haggerty sought monetary compensation in connection with Guess’ use of the image on its apparel.

 Haggerty’s Liquid Gold (left) & Guess’ t-shirt (right) Haggerty’s Liquid Gold (left) & Guess’ t-shirt (right)

Guess responded to Haggerty’s letter on September 13, according to the complaint, by  “‘vigorously deny[ing]’ that the apparel infringes [Haggerty’s] copyright, despite it clearly being [Haggerty’s] photograph.” That same day, Haggerty “informed GUESS that [she] would file and litigate the dispute if GUESS did not agree to remedy the situation immediately.” However, “Despite knowledge that this suit would be filed, and ample time to remedy the situation, [Guess] has refused to cease their infringement or to pay [Haggerty] its rightful licensing fee.”

As a result of its “deliberate” infringement and its “willful disregard for [Haggerty’s] intellectual property rights,” Guess “must now answer for its infringing conduct, which will include an injunction barring all future use of any and all apparel or images incorporating [Haggerty’s] copyrights, statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, and [Guess’] profits and [Haggerty’s] actual damages for the copyright infringements.”

Guess did not respond to a request for comment.

* The case is Vladamua, LLC, v. Guess?, Inc., 2:18-cv-08029 (C.D.Cal).