8 January 2018Copyright

Makeup artist smacks LVMH company with lip lawsuit

Ukrainian makeup artist and photographer Vlada Haggerty has filed a lawsuit against French cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever (MUFE), owned by luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), for trademark and copyright infringement.

The complaint was filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday, January 5.

Haggerty, based in Los Angeles, “is especially well known for her works of lip art, which feature close-up photographs of lips decorated with unique makeup designs”, according to the claim.  Her clients have included Disney Style, NYX Cosmetics, and Vogue.

The makeup artist is particularly recognised for her “Rose Gold Lip Art” and “Liquid Gold” photographs, and her “Rose Gold Lip Art” makeup application. These works feature distinctive ‘dripping lip’ makeup styles and were initially published to Haggerty’s Instagram. The images have since been featured in numerous beauty and fashion publications.

‘Rose Gold Lip Art’ is registered as US federal trademark number 5,296,027, for services relating to makeup application and consulting. Haggerty “is entitled to the exclusive use of this mark in commerce throughout the US for makeup application and related goods and service”, the complaint reads.

The claim alleges that since September 2016, MUFE has sent multiple written requests to Haggerty regarding her dripping lip art with the intention of using it to promote the company’s products. These requests were denied.

However, “MUFE went ahead and performed its own unauthorised ‘work around’ and adopted a logo for its new line of ‘Lustrous’ cosmetics which directly copied Ms Haggerty’s most famous trademark and copyrighted works”, the claim alleges.

The new logo portrays rose gold dripping lips which feature the same drip pattern as Haggerty’s copyrighted “Liquid Gold” style, the claim says, adding that MUFE’s new logo has identical textures and highlighting.

The complaint alleges that, as the ‘Lustrous’ products are marketed to the same consumers as Haggerty’s own services, consumers will be confused.

This isn’t the first time that the IP of lips has caused controversy. Kylie Jenner was sued at the same California court in July 2017 when artist Sara Pope accused her of copying her ‘Temptation Neon’ lips logo and using it to promote her reality TV show, WIPR reported.

Haggerty also threatened Jenner with legal action in 2016. Haggerty claimed Jenner’s makeup branding imagery, which included red lip art covered by gold hands, had been copied from her Instagram account. The makeup creatives settled their differences in January 2017.

Haggerty is seeking permanent injunctive relief alongside triple damages, including a disgorgement of all of MUFE’s worldwide profits from the sale of the ‘Lustrous’ cosmetics line, and the destruction of all materials featuring the infringing logo.

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More on this story

23 August 2018   Makeup artist Vlada Haggerty and Make Up For Ever have put an end to their trademark and copyright dispute over ‘dripping lip’ photographs.
17 September 2018   Makeup artist Vlada Haggerty has accused American fashion retailer Guess of using her artwork on clothing without permission.