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Image: Lashify

A battle over fake eyelashes has erupted between luxury lash company Lashify and an at-home-beauty entity that has allegedly taken to “blatantly copying” Lashify’s patent-protected system and offering it up for cheap. In the patent infringement lawsuit that it filed in a New Jersey federal court on Wednesday, Lashify alleges that fellow beauty company KISS is “willfully and unlawfully making [and] selling … artificial eyelash extension systems and components … designed by copying Lashify’s revolutionary, award-winning eyelash extension system.” 

According to its newly-filed complaint, Lashify claims that founder Sahara Lotti invented a “revolutionary” luxury lash extension system that enables individuals to skip pricey and time-consuming salon services and create their own “natural-looking false lashes” at home. In addition to amassing a sizable customer base and celebrity fans like Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Kourtney Kardashian, Tracie Ellis Ross, and Salma Hayek, among others, the 3-year old company maintains an array of utility patents that cover its novel process for applying the lashes and for the technical aspects of the lashes, themselves, as well as design patents for the appearance of its various tools. 

“Unsurprisingly, albeit unfortunately, Lashify’s innovative system attracted not just a loyal customer base, but also copycats seeking to profit from the fruits of Ms. Lotti’s hard work and dedication,” Lashify asserts. Among those alleged copycats? KISS. “One of the world’s largest artificial strip lashes and nails companies,” 31-year old DIY beauty brand KISS launched “Falscara” in January 2020 (“years after the launch of Lashify”), a collection of products that amounts to a “willful copy [of] Lashify’s technology without license, permission, or authorization to create its knock-off product,” according to Lashify. 

“With full knowledge” of Lashify’s products, given that KISS employees allegedly “ordered Lashify products for shipment directly to KISS’s headquarters,” and gven that “KISS approached a factory that manufactures Lashify’s products with an intent to learn information about Lashify’s products,” Lashify claims that KISS “provides nearly identical instructions” with its “copycat” Falscara products, thereby, instructing “users to follow exactly every step in Lashify’s patented process.” 

Lashify claims that KISS offers a “system [that] is nearly exact” to its own, and products – namely, a $19.99 set of “lashes, applicator, bond, and sealer” – that are also “nearly identical” to its own $145 set of the same four products. As for the lashes, themselves, Lashify alleges that just like it does, “KISS offers 3 styles of lashes to be placed under a natural lash line, which are designed to provide the same looks and … are made of similar fibers using similar technology.” 

In a nod to the alleged level of similarity between its offerings and those of KISS, Lashify claims that “beauty writers, influencers, and customers refer to KISS’s copycat Falscara as a ‘dupe’ of Lashify’s system.” Beyond “intentionally copying the look and feel of Lashify’s products, including Lashify’s design, packaging, and presentation” and thereby, “seeking to ride Lashify’s coattails,” Lashify claims that KISS has run afoul of the law by infringing two of its utility patents (no. 10,721,984 and 10,660,388) – both of which cover “artificial lash extensions.” (Note: despite the use of language and image ry that might suggest otherwise, Lashify does not make trade dress infringement or design patent infringement claims).

Lashify alleges that “use of KISS’s accused products according to their intended purpose meets each and every limitation of at least claim 1 of the ’388 patent,” noting, for example, that the “accused products include a set of heat-fused lash extensions designed to be applied to an underside of the user’s natural lashes in the manner set forth in the ’388 patent.” More than that, Lashify claims that “KISS also contributorily infringes the ’388 patent by selling or offering to sell infringing products, such as the [Falscara] products, knowing them to be especially made or especially adapted for practicing the claimed invention of the ’388 patent and not a staple article or commodity of commerce with substantial non-infringing uses.”

Despite putting KISS on notice on more than one occasion by way of cease and desist letters, Lashify claims that KISS “ignored its requests to cease and desist its unlawful proliferation of copycat products” and instead, continued to sell the products that it “designed [in order] to reap the benefits of Lashify’s intellectual property, goodwill, know-how, and ingenuity.” 

With the foregoing in mind, and in an attempt to “not only protect its own innovations, but also to protect further innovation in the beauty industry – innovation that otherwise would fall victim to the unfair and unlawful conduct of companies like KISS,” Lashify sets forth two claims of patent infringement, and is seeking injunctive relief to bar KISS from making and selling the allegedly infringing products and monetary damages.

Lashify’s suit comes just months after it filed a similar suit in China against Qingdao Hollyren Cosmetics Co., Ltd., arguing that the Chinese cosmetics manufacturer is infringing its patent-protected eyelash-applicator wand, for which it maintains protection in China. 

A representative for KISS was not immediately available for comment. 

*The case is Lashify, Inc. v. Kiss Nail Products, Inc., 2:20-cv-10023 (D. N.J.).