What a Difference a “K” Makes
Kirsten Kjaer Weis, a respected Danish makeup artist who is well known by her initials “KKW” and for her KW-branded “natural, organic, luxury” cosmetics and skin care line, filed a complaint in late July against the queen of reality stars, Kim Kardashian West.
Kardashian West recently released her own “KKW” makeup line. The product name and branding led Weis to send Kimsaprincess, Inc. and Kardashian West, its president, a cease-and-desist letter demanding that Kimsaprincess immediately cease using the KKM mark on its cosmetics. When the letter was ignored, Weis filed a complaint alleging trademark infringement and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, as well as charges under Illinois state law.
Weis claims that she has been using her initials “KKW” and the federally registered “KM” marks in connection with her cosmetics and skin care line since 2009, and, according to the complaint, she has built up significant acclaim and goodwill through her product line.
Kardashian West, on the other hand, has only just entered the arena—but in a characteristically big way. Her KKW line debuted on June 21 and sold out in less than three hours, earning her company millions according to the complaint.
Weis seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and an award of profits and actual damages from Kimsaprincess in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Kardashian West’s public relations representatives claim that Weis’s complaint has no merit, as their client applied for and received approval for KKW and related brands from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They also claim that when Weis sought re-examination, the PTO approved Kardashian West’s branding again.
It seems likely that Kardashian West will file a motion to dismiss in response to the complaint, especially in light of Ms. Kardashian West’s claims to have already won trademark approval. Time will tell whether the additional “K” will be enough to defeat Weis’s claims.