4 July 2019Trademarks

Kim Kardashian wins $2.7m in Missguided TM suit

Kim Kardashian West has secured $2.7 million in damages in a lawsuit she brought against Missguided, in which she accused the clothing brand of exploiting her trademarks and likeness on its Instagram account.

In a judgement issued on Tuesday, July 2, the US District Court for the Central District of California granted Kardashian a partial win after Missguided failed to defend itself against a complaint filed by the reality TV star.

In the original complaint, filed in February, Kardashian alleged that Missguided’s “fast and inexpensive” business model was “often derivative of other companies’ designs, if not blatant knock-offs”.

Kardashian had accused Missguided of using its Instagram account to post pictures of her in order to promote its brand. She also alleged that Missguided’s website “includes entire pages devoted to the sale of clothing inspired” by her.

“Missguided has so systematically misappropriated Kardashian’s name and likeness that the consuming public is likely to and has come to the mistaken conclusion that she is affiliated with Missguided,” the complaint said.

In a statement sent to WIPR at the time, Missguided said that the company had not “received any notification of legal action, but in any event any action based on online banter would be meritless”.

In its latest order, the court denied Kardashian’s request for a default judgment against Missguided UK, finding that she had failed to serve the brand’s UK arm with a proper complaint.

But, the court granted the judgement against Missguided USA, finding that the “‘relatedness’ of Kardashian’s fame is closely related to Missguided USA’s fashion brand”.

“Kardashian is a highly sought-after spokesperson for products in the fashion and cosmetic industries. Relatedly, Missguided USA is a ‘fast-fashion’ clothing company that is ‘particularly well-known for copying designs worn by famous celebrities’,” the decision said.

The court ruled that Kardashian was entitled to $300,000 for each of the nine unauthorised Instagram posts by Missguided which had used Kardashian’s likeness to promote its products. It also awarded Kardashian $59,600 in legal fees.

Additionally, the court granted Kardashian an injunction against Missguided USA, finding that there is a likelihood of irreparable harm to Kardashian’s trademarks, business reputation and goodwill.

The win comes shortly after Kardashian faced backlash over her new Kimono shapewear line.

On Monday, July 1, Kardashian said she would rename the line after people in Japan deemed the use of the term disrespectful.

The same day, Reuters reported that Japan was to send patent officials to the US to discuss the dispute.

Japan’s trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, said he was aware Kardashian would be changing the name but still wanted there to be a “careful examination” of the matter.

“This has become a big deal on social media,” Seko said during a press conference in Tokyo. “The kimono is regarded around the world as a distinct part of our culture. Even in America, kimono is well known to be Japanese.”

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