LOS ANGELES (CN) — A major talent agency that says it made millions for the Kardashian and Jenner sisters sued the reality TV and social media stars, accusing them of breaking their oral contract and not paying commissions.
Agency for the Performing Arts, or APA, says it represented Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie and Kendall Jenner for six years in obtaining deals to put their names on a wide variety of products, until the sisters ended the relationship in March last year.
The company brought the sisters “several lucrative licensing deals … for clothing, shoes, hair care, and a self-tanning product,” Tuesday’s lawsuit states. “The relationship between the parties was successful for many years, with APA helping launch successful Kardashian products as the Kardashian/Jenner names were just beginning to emerge and gain popularity.”
Founded in 1962, APA is one of the largest U.S. talent and branding agencies, according to its website. It took on the Kardashian and Jenner sisters in 2009, eventually becoming so successful with their deals it needed “several full time staff members whose time was nearly 100 percent devoted to [their] licensing and branding projects.”
The agency and the sisters had an oral agreement only, the complaint says, but it “was based on an unsigned standard and customary agreement used by APA for their licensing and branding clients.”
Under that oral contract, the sisters were to pay the agency 15 percent of all they earned from the licensing deals APA landed for them “for the life of each of the respective agreements,” according to the lawsuit.
On March 4, 2015, the sisters allegedly terminated the representation agreement.
They have “subsequently refused to pay APA for all commissions which are owed for licensing deals procured and/or negotiated during their representation relationship,” the suit says.
The sides did have settlement talks, according to the lawsuit. They also agreed to extend the statute of limitations “while the Kardashian/Jenner family was experiencing extremely challenging public events during the course of 2015.”
Presumably, those events included the Jenners’ father, Bruce Jenner, announcing publicly he is now the transgender woman Caitlyn Jenner.
In addition to the five sisters, the lawsuit also names their individual “loan-out” companies as defendants.
The breach of contract lawsuit does not specify how much the agency believes the Kardashians and Jenners might owe it.
“It’s a substantial amount of money currently owed, and it’s a substantial amount of money arguably owed in the future,” said APA’s lead attorney, Joseph P. Costa.
The lawsuit lists five ongoing licensing and branding deals APA brought to the Kardashians and the Jenners. One for the sunless tanning product called New Sunshine earned the Kardashian sisters “millions of dollars,” according to the complaint.
Other deals connected the Kardashians with a company that licensed a clothing line carried at Sears stores under their name, one that started a struggling makeup line for them and one for hair-care products.
A fifth deal led to the Jenners’ “Kendall + Kylie” clothing and footwear line, carried at Bloomingdales and other high-end retailers.
“Since then, the value of [the Jenners’] name/likeness and associated intellectual property has skyrocketed,” the suit claims.
A consultant who has worked with the sisters could not be reached Wednesday. Law firms that have represented them in previous litigation did not respond to calls seeking comment on the new lawsuit.
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