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Judge rules in favor of the Kardashian sisters in cosmetics trademark infringement case

Kardashian Beauty
Pieces from the Kardashian Beauty Fierce collection at the center of the legal dispute between the Kardashian sisters and licensee Haven Beauty.
(Kardashian Beauty)

The Kardashians have won the latest round in the legal battle over their cosmetics brand.

In a verdict issued Wednesday, U.S. District Central Court of California judge James Selna sided with the famous sisters to stop the latest Kardashian Beauty makeup launch. Pending an appeal, the decision concludes a trademark infringement case filed by the Kardashians last month accusing Hillair Capital Management, principal investor in their licensee Haven Beauty, of failing to compensate them and secure their approval on products prior to producing them.

“[The] Kardashians have established the strong likelihood that Haven Beauty intentionally infringed upon the Kardashian trademarks; namely, by continuing to use the Kardashian trademarks in connection with the promotion of Kardashian Beauty-branded cosmetic products without paying any royalties due under the license agreement,” wrote Selna, adding, “[T]hey no longer have any control over their reputation and good will related to Haven Beauty’s unauthorized use of their trademarks in connection with the…cosmetic products.”

Haven Beauty’s attempts to market Fierce, a new five-item collection that had been headed to Ulta Beauty to sell this month, have been dealt a severe blow by the court’s determination. And it’s appearing increasingly unlikely the company will play a role in expanding the Kardashian consumer-products empire in the future. On July 8, the Kardashians notified Haven Beauty they were terminating their license agreement for beauty merchandise, and Selna suggested that termination would withstand legal scrutiny. “[T]he licensee cannot both stop paying royalties but nevertheless continue using the trademark,” he stated.

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Legal feuds have afflicted Kardashian Beauty for years. Most recently, Haven Beauty and the Kardashians have been duking it out in federal court for injunctions. Preceding those actions, Hillair filed a lawsuit in March for failing to support the brand that pursued damages up to $180 million. Before that, previous licensee Boldface, which was taken over nearly two years ago by Hillair in receivership, was at the eye of a legal storm involving the original name of the brand, Khroma Beauty.

Despite Selna’s judgement in the infringement matter, the Kardashians haven’t completely escaped legal entanglements straitjacketing Kardashian Beauty. It’s probable Hillair will seek to appeal Selna’s decision, and the parties are enmeshed in arbitration to hammer out pleas by both for damages. Still, assuming Selna’s ruling isn’t overturned, the Kardashians will be free to pursue another licensee to create beauty products capitalizing on their celebrity.

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