11 December 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

Kardashian sues ‘vampire facial’ doctor for misuse of image

Kim Kardashian West is suing the doctor behind the controversial ‘vampire facial’ for misappropriating her name and likeness in promoting his services.

Charles Runels claims to own trademark rights for the ‘Vampire Facial’, which gained widespread attention after Kardashian and her sister Kourtney underwent the procedure in 2012.

The procedure involves separating platelets in the blood and injecting them back into a person’s face in order to promote skin healing and repair.

A picture Kardashian posted of herself on Instagram after getting the ‘vampire facial’ subsequently went viral.

The reality TV star and business owner registered the “vampire facial selfie” with the US Copyright Office last month.

The image was used on the doctor’s website, as well as numerous references to Kardashian including an article on the “secret legal story behind Kim Kardashian’s famous ‘vampire’ selfie”.

In the complaint, Kardashian said she was “horrified to discover that her name and likeness were plastered all over Runels’ website,” the suit said.

After Kardashian demanded that Runels remove all images and references to her from his website, “he had the temerity to demand that she pay him,” the suit claimed.

Kardashian levelled a total of five charges against Runels, including copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and false association or endorsement.

According to the suit, Runels has described himself as the “orgasm doctor” and the “Calvin Klein of medicine” in relation to his range of products and services, including the ‘orgasm shot’ and the ‘vampire breast lift’.

Runels serves as the president, secretary, treasurer, and director of the Cellular Medicine Association (CMA), which claims to certify licensed providers of the ‘vampire facial’.

The suit said it was Kardashian’s “choice whether or not to commercially endorse another party’s goods and services”.

“Runels and CMA took that choice away from her when they decided to prominently use her name and likeness in commercial advertising without her permission,” it added.

Kardashian also claimed that Runel’s trademark rights for the ‘Vampire’ brand were fraudulent as he “neither exercises, nor has the right to exercise, any supervision or control” over providers of the ‘vampire facial’.

According to the complaint, Runels charges a total of $190,000 per month in licensing fees from more than 650 medical providers.

Kardashian later stated that she regretted the procedure, which she described as “painful”.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories:

Nike accuses Fleet Feet of trying to 'silence' ad campaign and appeal

Toymaker to appeal Lego injunction at Fed Circuit

Apple fears ex-employees accused of IP theft will flee to China

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

20 February 2020   US media personality Kylie Jenner has been held up in her attempt to trademark ‘Stormi World’, after opposition from a New Orleans-based clothing company and multiple trademark owner.