CHICAGO (CN) – A New York-based cosmetics artist claims in a federal lawsuit that the name and logo of Kim Kardashian West’s KWW makeup line are likely to be confused with her line of products.
Kirsten Kjær Weis – a Danish makeup artist based in New York City who is well-known in the industry by her name and initials, KWW – filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Chicago federal court against Kimsaprincess Inc., which Kardashian West is president of.
“Long after KKW’s first use of her name, initials, and the KW Marks, Kimsaprincess began using its KKW designation and KKW BEAUTY designation in commerce to identify its goods and advertise its KKW products,” the complaint states. “Those unlawful acts of Kimsaprincess are likely to confuse, cause mistake, or deceive consumers that Kimsaprincess’ goods are authorized by, sponsored by or affiliated with KKW.”
Since 2010, Kjær Weis has been using a “KW” stylized mark for her organic beauty products, including lipstick, bronzer, foundation, mascara, eye shadow and scented oils through retail outlets and her website, Kjærweis.com, according to the complaint. She has four patents associated with her KW mark.
“Kjær Weis has become a leader in developing luxury organic beauty products free of chemicals and synthetics. She has received a tremendous amount of public recognition and critical acclaim both in the United States and internationally for the products sold under the KW Marks,” according to the complaint. “KKW has developed significant goodwill, intellectual property rights, and asset value in the KW Marks and her name.”
Kardashian West began using both of her last names following her marriage to rapper Kanye West in 2014.
Last month, Kimsaprincess launched its cosmetic and beauty line using “KKW” and “KKW BEAUTY” marks.
Kjær Weis argues that people are likely to confuse the Kimsaprincess’ KKW products with her KW products.
Prior to the launch of Kardashian West’s cosmetics venture, Kjær Weis says she sent Kimsaprincess a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the company to stop its use of KKW and not use any other name likely to cause confusion with KW products.
Kimsaprincess allegedly refused. According to the complaint, Kardashian West’s product launch sold out in less than three hours, making millions of dollars in revenue.
Kjær Weis wants a judge to declare that Kimsaprincess is infringing on her four KW mark-related patents in violation of the Lanham Act. She also seeks a permanent injunction halting further use of the KKW mark, and wants Kardashian West’s company to account and pay for profits derived from the allegedly unfair competition.
“This is about protecting our reputation and our business,” Kjær Weis said in a statement provided by one of her attorneys. “We have worked hard over many years to establish our brand identity and our unique market position.”
Kjær Weis is represented in the lawsuit by Marcus S. Harris of Arnstein & Lehr in Chicago.
Andrew Brettler of Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles, who represented Kardashian West in a recent lawsuit over media coverage of her robbery in Paris last year, did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment on Kjær Weis’ complaint.
Ina Treciokas, a publicist with Slate PR in New York City representing Kardashian West, said in a statement that the reality TV star did nothing wrong.
“There is no merit to this lawsuit,” Treciokas said via email. “Before launching, Kim received approval for KKW, KKW BEAUTY and KKW FRAGRANCE from the U.S. Trademark Office. When Ms. Weiss [sic] asked for a re-examination, the Trademark Office again approved the brand names for Kim’s company a second time. Kim has done everything by the book.”