Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Kardarshians - sued for $10 million for stealing

The Kardashian sisters' makeup line, Khroma, has been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit and it's not the first time the family has been accused of stealing someone else's ideas. 

Lee Tillett, a makeup artist from Florida, has officially filed suit against the Kardashians in Los Angeles superior court. She is suing for $10 million dollars in damages, claiming the Kardashians stole the name of her makeup line, Kroma, which was founded in 2004, and simply added an "h." 

Apparently the Kardashians couldn't resist beginning the business's name with the letter "k." All five sisters and mom Kris have names beginning with the letter K. Their fashion label is called the Kardashian Kollection for Sears and their line for OPI nail polish is called Kardashian Kolor. 

"I developed the Kroma line myself, built my business through my own hard work, and took the legal steps necessary to protect it," Tillett said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "And yet I have now been forced into legal battle with the Kardashians simply because they have decided to take something that doesn't belong to them." 

Yahoo! Shine reached out to Tillett's legal representative, but didn't receive a response at press time. 

This is not the first time the Kardashians have faced legal action in regards to Khroma. Back in October, another makeup line called Chroma threatened to sue the Kardashians unless they changed the name of the brand. 

Michael Rey, co-owner of Chroma Makeup, told TMZ that the reality stars' new range "cheapens" his line and "creates confusion in the marketplace." With the beauty market so oversaturated, it's not an unfair complaint. Though Rey went even further in the same interview to say his customers would be "embarrassed" to find they had purchased a Kardashian brand in error. 

At the time this article was written, suspiciously, the U.S. version of the Khroma Beauty website appeared to be down, but the European version was up and running. 

The Kardashians did indeed change the name after the threat from Chroma Makeup, and Boldface Licensing + Branding, the company that owns the Kardashian license, claimed they had gone through several steps to secure the brand's originality and name, telling the Huffington Post, "Boldface Licensing + Branding has gone through the appropriate legal channels in obtaining the rights to use the name Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim and Khloé in the Color Category with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, making all proper legal filings." 

The KK perfume logo is very similar to this necklace by jewelry designer Korcula.Aside from troubles with the family makeup line, the Kardashians have faced several accusations in years past for stealing ideas in their various businesses. Back in 2010, Shine's own Joanna Douglas wrote about Kim's theft of a jewelry designer's double K design that she then used as the logo for her Kim Kardashian perfume. 

Even earlier, in 2009, Kim debuted a dress for her Kardashian/Bebe line that looked markedly similar to a style from Fendi's Fall 2009 collection that she had been photographed wearing. She claimed on a blog post that the design was merely "inspired by" Fendi's look. "But copying very distinctive, unique details like adding a hood to a dress, or a leather corset is not only unoriginal, it's a knock off, Douglas wrote. "That's not using inspiration, that's stealing!" 
The look from Fendi alongside Kim's design.And nearly every bag in the Kardashian Kollection of handbags released in 2011 looked almost identical to existing bags from major designers that the Kardasians love and wear, like Balenciaga, Chloe, Alexander Wang, Hermes, YSL, Chanel, and more. In fact, one bag from the Kardashian Kollection was pulledafter designer Monica Botkier sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sears on distributing the bag that she claimed was a knock-off of her design. 

Though the status of the lawsuit is unclear, it's obvious that Lee Tillett will have plenty examples of the Kardashians' past copyright infringement debacles to back up her claim in court. It's a novel idea, but perhaps the Kardashians should opt for original business ideas from now on. 


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