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Default judgment in Kardashian trademark, right of publicity suit

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

Kim Kardashian is in the intellectual property news again. We shared information just last week about her controversial choice of the word “kimono” for branding her new line of lingerie.

On July 2, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a default judgment in favor of Kardashian in her lawsuit against the American branch of Missguided, a British fashion retailer, after it did not file an answer in the case. According to The Fashion Law, Kardashian alleged willful trademark infringement because Missguided has repeatedly used her image and name to sell fashion copied without permission from Kardashian’s designs.

According to The Fashion Law, she also alleged unfair competition and violation of her right of publicity because Missguided used her name and likeness commercially without her consent.

In the default judgment, the judge ordered Missguided to permanently stop violating Kardashian’s trademarks “in connection with the sale, marketing or distribution of its products. The court awarded Kardashian almost $3 million in damages plus almost $60,000 in legal fees.

Newsweek quoted the opinion, “Missguided has repeatedly used Kardashian West’s name and likeness without permission on its social media platforms to promote the sale of its clothing.” The judge also reportedly said that Missguided’s use of photos of her as well as “a page dedicated to Kardashian-inspired look” implies that she was linked to the Missguided brands.

It will be interesting to see if Missguided appeals the judgment.

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