Missguided may have opted not to respond to the multi-million dollar lawsuit that Kim Kardashian filed against it in February, but the reality mega-star is not letting this case go. In a couple of lengthy filings on Friday, counsel for Kardashian asked the court to force the Manchester-based fast fashion company to pay upwards of $5 million dollars, and permanently refrain from using Kardashian’s name and image in connection with its products going forth, following widespread unauthorized use.
In a motion for entry of default judgment filed a California federal court late last week, Kardashian’s counsel reasserted claims of trademark infringement, right of publicity violations, and false designation of origin, among others, which stem from Missguided’s pattern of using Kardashian’s name and image without her authorization, including by “devoting entire pages [on the www.missguidedus.com website] to the sale of clothing inspired by Kardashian.”
In furtherance of its Kardashian-centric marketing scheme, the company has “posted numerous other photos of Kardashian on its Instagram feed—at times together with her husband and/or children,” according to the original complaint, and has “also repeatedly used Kardashian’s name on its social media platforms … to capitalize on her celebrity status and social media following in promoting the sale of its upcoming products.”
In doing so, “Missguided has brazenly misappropriated Kardashian’s name and images, turning her into an unwilling endorser of the Missguided brand,” the motion asserts, thereby causing significant monetary damage to the star, who charges “a fee ranging from $300,000-$500,000” for a “single social media post endorsing third-party products,” and “for more involved arrangements,” the arrangements include worth “multi-million dollar deals, which often provide [Kardashian with] equity in the licensee, as well.”
More than merely stiffing Kardashian of the per-post fee, the star, herself, claims in a signed statement in support of the motion for default judgment that Missguided has robbed her of the ability to “carefully” and very “selectively” control which brands and products she endorses. Kardashian claims in her 4-page statement that “because a significant portion of my business involves the licensing of my name, trademarks, and images, I work very hard to ensure that my brand means something to my fans and to the public, who view the use of my name as the stamp of approval by me.”
“I want to be sure that the products or services are something that I can be proud of sharing,” Kardashian further notes, which is why she says that she “often turn[s] down licensing requests” even in the range of $300,000 to $500,000. (Editorial note: Such language implies that Kardashian is proud to share the various weight-loss teas and appetite suppressing products that she has promoted in the past, and continues to post about in exchange for compensation).
Still yet, 38-year old Kardashian asserts, “This has also damaged my credibility because of my previous criticism of the ‘fast fashion’ industry, in which companies like Missguided copy the clothing designs worn by celebrities and turn them around within a very short time after the original designs are seen on a red carpet or other event.”
“Because I have appeared on Missguided’s website and social media posts, it looks as though I am lying to the public and have secretly collaborated with the company despite my prior criticism of this industry. I have seen articles online accusing me of this,” she states. (Also note: The statement does not make mention of whether or not Kardashian is formally involved with fast fashion giant Fashion Nova).
With this in mind, and given that Missguided has “strategically defaulted in this case,” Kardashian’s counsel has asked the court to enter a default judgment, (i.e., decide the case in the her favor, and require Missguided USA Finance Inc. to abide by that decision, despite the fact that the company has failed to participate in the case to date).
The motion asserts that while Missguided is primarily located in the U.K., the court has jurisdiction over the company and its U.S. arm for a number of reasons, including that the “defendants have purposely directed their activities to the U.S. and California in particular” by way of their “U.S.-facing website.” More than that, “The size of the California market permits the inference that a significant portion of Missguided’s U.S. sales are to California residents.”
“Entry of a default judgment will confirm Missguided’s wrongdoing,” Kardashian’s team claims. “It will validate Kardashian’s efforts to police her intellectual property, as she mustdo to avoid the dilution of her rights and possibly even claims of waiver or abandonment.”
Beyond that, “It will further dis-incentivize others from infringing Kardashian’s rights in the same way. Conversely, allowing willful infringers like Missguided to circumvent liability by failing to respond to a complaint would be enormously harmful to Kardashian’s rights and her future prospects of protecting them.”
* The case is Kimsaprincess, Inc.; and Kim Kardashian West v. Missguided USA (Finance) Inc., and Missguided Limited, 2:19-cv-01258 (C.D.Cal).