After teasing the impending launch early this year of a collection of what Vogue is now declaring “underwear and styling tools you never knew you needed,” two celebrity stylists came together to officially debut the finished product last month. Called The KiT Undergarments, Jamie Mizrahi and Simone Harouche’s barely two-month-old new venture has already made a splash with the help of their famous friends and clients – from Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus to Kendall Jenner and Kate Hudson – who modeled its smoothing high-rise briefs, seamless thongs, classic molded bras, and soft wireless bras for display on Instagram.
While the buzzy undergarments brand is already garnering quite a lot of traction, not everyone is on board. In fact, The Kit Undergarments has also found itself at least one opponent: designer Daniel Vosovic, who is taking on the celebrity stylist duo for allegedly co-opting the name of his brand – or “at least [being] willful blind to [his] established rights in THE KIT [trademark]” when they selected the moniker for their own budding undergarments collection.
According to the complaint that New York-based Vosovic filed on Thursday in a federal court in New York by way of his DVNY LLC entity, he launched The Kit – his “revolutionary ‘design now, buy now’ approach [brand] to women’s apparel” in 2017 to order to “bring the latest fashion trends to consumers within days instead of months” – only to have JMSB, Inc., The Kit Undergarments’ corporate entity, opt for a striking similar name.
Vosovic – a Project Runway alum – asserts in the complaint that the two brands’ similar names are made more similar given the way that JMSB, Inc. stylizes it name: their “website and other marketing feature THE KIT UNDERGARMENTS mark substantially in a form [where] … the words ‘THE KIT’ are emphasized and far more prominently displayed than ‘UNDERGARMENTS,’” which is commonly situated below in a smaller font size. More than that, Vosovic claims that other uses of The Kit Undergarments’ brand name “omit the word ‘UNDERGARMENTS’ altogether, leaving no other words other than ‘THE KIT.’”
The similarly of the two brands names is likely to “confuse and deceive customers into believing that the [The Kit Undergarments’] goods are sourced from DVNY and cause consumers to mistakenly believe that there is an affiliation between the [The Kit Undergarments’] goods and DVNY [and its brand].” Such a likelihood of confusion is bolstered by the fact that “The Kit Undergarments’ goods [are] similarly priced to [his] goods and [exist] in overlapping e-commerce channels of trade,” DVNY argues.
And still yet, DVNY claims that given that “the type of goods offered by the parties … are often offered by a single company, a consumer may reasonably assume that a single company would offer both [ready-to-wear garments and undergarments],” thereby, leading to an increased likelihood of confusion that could prove detrimental to DVNY’s “ability to maintain brand identity, [which] is critical to companies engaged in consumer sales.”
Far from an unknown name, DVNY says that since its launch in February 2017, it has been “met with both critical acclaim and national press,” “been praised by several celebrity endorsers and influencers,” sold directly to consumers “in all 50 states, as well as internationally,” and has built up a following on social media. Still yet, DVNY asserts that it has “expended over $200,000 dollars on advertising and promotional efforts,” while its gross sales for its “revolutionary [offerings], which consists of a luxury line of versatile separates that can be worn alone or combined together in several mix-and-matchable looks” have topped “$600,000 dollars since their launch in February 2017 and are growing.”
With the foregoing in mind, counsel for DVNY says that it sent a cease and desist letter to JMSB, Inc. on October 17 – “demanding, among other things, that [it] stop its infringing use of THE KIT UNDERGARMENTS, withdraw its pending trademark application, and cancel or transfer its infringing www.thekitundergarments.com domain name to DVNY” – but asserts that counsel for JMSB, Inc. “refused to comply with DVNY’s attempts to resolve this matter without litigation, leaving DVNY no choice but to proceed with this suit.”
DVNY sets forth six causes of actions, including but not limited to trademark infringement, unlawful deceptive acts and practices, and unfair competition and is seeking monetary damages, as well as injunctive relief to bar JMSB, Inc. from using their allegedly infringing brand name and recall “all inventory or merchandise and other materials bearing THE KIT mark.” Still yet, DVNY wants the court to cancel JMSB, Inc. existing trademark registration for “This is the kit.”
A rep for The Kit Undergarments was not immediately available for comment.
*The case is Daniel Vosovic NY, LLC d/b/a THE KIT v. JMSB Inc. d/b/a THE KIT UNDERGARMENTS, 1:19-cv-10820 (SDNY).