Culhane Meadows’ New York partner David Jacoby was recently quoted in an article about Kim Kardashian stirring up controversy when naming her brands.
Here are a few excerpts from the article, originally published by Fashionista magazine and syndicated by Yahoo! News:
Kim Kardashian, as you may have heard, is in the midst of bringing yet another beauty brand to market. On Tuesday, following weeks of buzzy pre-launch press — including an appearance on “The Today Show” and a controversial interview with The New York Times in which she revealed she would consider eating poop every day if it would make her look younger — SKKN by Kim officially hit the DTC shelves.
Created alongside industry giant Coty Inc., SKKN By Kim‘s initial offering includes nine products, ranging from $43 for a single (non-refill) cleanser to $673 for the complete collection. In a press release, the 41-year-old entrepreneur and reality TV star said her psoriasis diagnosis “became the catalyst” for her learning more about skin care. “Working with some of the top dermatologists and estheticians over the years has given me the incredible opportunity to learn from their expertise — and I knew I had to share my learnings,” she said.
The brand, however, has dealt with a series of naming headaches leading up to its launch, including accusations of trademark infringement. Kardashian submitted several trademark applications for the name between March and July 2021. But according to reports in The Fashion Law and Bloomberg Law, Beauty Concepts LLC is trying to block Kardashian’s trademarks from moving forward because of similarities to its own brand, SKKN+. Cyndie Lunsford, owner of the Brooklyn-based Beauty Concepts, claims her company has been using the SKKN+ name since August 2018, and that she filed for a trademark on March 28, 2021, just days before Kardashian.
“Assuming the existence of the similar marks was not known to the Kardashian team, running checks on the names one wants to register, and variations, could have provided important clues and allowed more lead time to address problems,” says David Jacoby, an intellectual property lawyer and partner in the New York office of Culhane Meadows.
Jacoby has been involved in previous brand disputes but does not represent Kardashian or SKKN By Kim. He says that when looking to trademark a brand, typically a trademark application is filed, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) could point out problems with it, leading to amendments or disclaimers on part of the claims.
“The USPTO will publish the applied-for trademark for opposition,” Jacoby explains. “It may negotiate with the applicant for limitations on what the mark to be issued will protect. For example, a disclaimer of a word or words within the proposed trademark could be required.”
So, how does Kardashian keep rising above her brand naming challenges? Money, a large legal team, and press blitzes certainly help. Keisha Wagner-Gaymon, founder of PeachFuzz Laser Studio in Brooklyn, would like to see some accountability if it turns out that the SKKN+ trademark is being infringed upon.
With the number of celebrity beauty brands flooding the market, a truly original idea — let alone an original name — seems more elusive than ever. And savvy shoppers can usually tell the difference between a product that offers real value, versus something that’s merely an extension of the celebrity’s own personal brand.
“Today’s consumers are smart,” says Wagner-Gaymon. “Beauty and skincare is the new wave and everyone wants to be a part of it. Many of these celebrity brands fail. Marketing is not enough. Don’t just throw products out there and expect it to do well because it has your name on it.”
Read their entire article HERE to learn more.
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