Two separate companies are involved in trademark infringement disputes with the Kardashian sisters and Boldface Group Inc., which markets their beauty line, over the name Khroma.
In one lawsuit, Chroma Cosmetics claims trademark infringement over the similar name. Chroma apparently first learned of the idea of using the name Khroma via an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and sent a cease and desist letter. A lawsuit seeking an injunction, damages, and attorneys’ fees followed thereafter.
According to TMZ, Michael Rey, the co-owner of Chroma Makeup in Beverly Hills believes that the Kardashians’ brand “cheapens” his and would cause customers to be “embarrassed” to say they wear his makeup because of possible confusion with the reality television stars’ line.
In the other legal action, makeup artist Lee Tillett of Florida also began by sending a cease and desist letter to the Kardashian sisters and Boldface, alleging that Khroma is too similar to her own trademarked Kroma cosmetics. Boldface denied the claims and seeks declaratory judgment from a federal district court that the use of the Kardashians on the packaging of Khroma along with “By Lee Tillet” on Kroma products is enough to eliminate any confusion as the source of the goods.
In the meantime, Tillett has filed her own $10 million lawsuit, according to the Orlando Sentinel in a Los Angeles federal district court.
The Kardashian sisters (Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe) are launching Khroma soon according to its website; estimates put their likely earnings from the cosmetics line in the $6 million range at least. Damages from these lawsuits, however, could also reach into the millions.
Boldface, according to Lexology, is a “‘beauty license company’ that partners with celebrities to launch makeup and beauty lines.” There are currently two trademark applications pending regarding the Kardashians’ line: “KHROMA BEAUTY BY KOURTNEY, KIM AND KHLOE” and “KARDASHIAN KHROMA.”
Indeed, Nicole Ostoya, CEO and co-founder of Boldface, contacted the Huffington Post to say the following:
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. We do not believe that there is any likelihood of confusion between Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim and Khloé and any other entity, given that Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim and Khloé is clearly marketed together with the famous Kardashian brand name and will be sold with singular and distinctive trade dress.
What do you think of this dispute? Will the Kardashians be forced to come up with a new name for their cosmetics line and pay out damages? Should they be?
UPDATE: A California federal judge in March issued an injunction over the Kardashian line of cosmetics, finding the “Khroma” brand likely to infringe on the trademark rights of the “Kroma” line of cosmetics. Boldface requested a stay of the injunction, pending their appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court, which was granted. To date, there has been no ruling.