Jackie O, Better Midler and Vanna White are leading ladies who paved the way in “look alike” and “sound alike” lawsuits. Now, Kim Kardashian is stepping into the ring against Old Navy. The suit (Kardashian v. The Gap Inc., et al., case number 2:11-cv-05960), in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, specifically alleges violation of California's right-of-publicity statute and the Lanham Act, seeks unspecified damages, and an injunction barring Old Navy from using Kardashian look-alikes in future ads. Kardashian claims that the Old Navy ad “incorporated a storyline associated with (her) likeness, identity and persona” to highlight the look-alike’s resemblance.
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At issue is whether consumers will be shown to be confused by Old Navy’s Kim Kardashian look alike and, if so, whether the court will follow the ruling in the Bette Midler case and find that “the defendants . . . for their own profit in selling their product did appropriate part of her identity” through the use of a look alike. It remains to be seen whether, as in the Lindsay Lohan lawsuit against eTrade, documents will surface in discovery that evidence Old Navy’s attempt to emulate Kardashian. Old Navy did, however, post the following Tweet: “@CBSNEWS reports that Old Navy's Super CUTE star looks like @kimkardashian. #LOL. What do you think?” As an interesting side note, the alleged look alike, Melissa Molinaro, is said to be dating Kim’s ex, Reggie Bush.
So, what do you think, does Kim have a case?