Kim Kardashian West has filed suit against Missguided USA Finance Inc. and Missguided Limited, in the US district court for the Central District of California, alleging right of publicity violations and trademark infringement.
Kardashian claims that Missguided’s continued misappropriation of her name and likeness has led consumers to falsely believe that she is associated with and endorses Missguided’s clothing.
In the complaint, Kardashian states that “Like other fast-fashion companies, Missguided has become notorious for knocking-off” Kardashian’s looks. However, according to Kardashian, Missguided does more than merely replicate her clothing. Instead, the company repeatedly and systematically uses her name and image without authorization to “spark interest in” and promote the sale of Missguided products, “effectively turning Kardashian into an unwitting and unwilling spokesperson.” Missguided has featured Kardashian in numerous social media posts, and created an entire “Shop Kim K” section on its website. Kardashian claims that “Missguided’s use of her name and likeness is so pervasive that consumers have begun to erroneously and mistakenly conclude that she is affiliated with Missguided and is working with the company to knock-off the clothing that fashion designers have created for her.” Missguided responded to the complaint by publicly stating “For the record, as much as we love her style, we’re not working with Kim on anything.”
Kardashian’s fee for one sponsored social media post is regularly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and her long-term endorsements garner fees in the millions of dollars. As such, Kardashian seeks $10 million in damages, as well as an injunction against Missguided.
Regardless of the outcome, this case highlights the importance of having strong endorsement agreements in place before leveraging a celebrity’s status and following to advertise and sell products.