By now, you’ve probably seen the social media frenzy surrounding the unveiling of Kim Kardashian’s newest beauty venture, SKKN BY KIM.
“I’m so proud of this line of products — not only are they efficacious, clean, backed in science, and shaped for all types of skin, but they bring a spa-like experience right to your home,” Kim wrote in an Instagram caption shared yesterday.
As of 12PM Tuesday, the nine-step product line was finally made available to consumers for purchase.
The mogul continued to share her excitement for the products’ launch, raving about the “sought-after ingredients,” “clinically-proven formulas,” and “compostable kraft bags and refills made from recycled materials.”
But those highlights didn’t stop social media from pouncing on the entire product line and comparing it to others currently out right now, including Lori Harvey’s SKN by LH, Desi Perkin’s DEZI SKIN, and SKKN+.
Host, Shyneika Taylor, took to Instagram to share the collective reaction from social media users.
“While everyone else is so excited – I’m not even impressed, and I’m going to tell y’all why,” she stated. “Because last year on October 18, Lori Harvey definitely launched SKN by LH. And I already know what some of y’all are going to say: ‘Oh, it’s different. It’s a coincidence. It’s not spelled the same.’”
“Knock it off,” she continued. “Anyone with a fully developed brain and a pair of working eyeballs can clearly see that SKN and SKKN are the same! This is plagiarism! Sis just added a ‘K’ and called it a day!”
Social media users also called out SKKN BY KIM for its packaging which looks considerably similar to Lori Harvey’s blue-toned collection, as well as Dezi Perkins’ stone-inspired line.
Kardashian was also hit with a cease and desist by the founder of SKKN+, Cydnie Lunsford.
In order to further break down these potential trademark infringements, we reached out to one of the best trademark attorneys in the country, Rosezena J. Pierce, for her take.
Pierce has come to be known as “The Biz Lawyer,” with almost ten years of experience in the trademark world. She is also the founder and CEO of RJ Pierce Law Group,computer, a boutique law firm that specializes in cutting-edge trademark services. Pierce was also ranked at #32 out of 33,000 trademark attorneys in the country. And her firm was ranked #37 out of 28,000 trademark firms in the country.
“This is why we tell clients to get a distinctive name [for their brand or business],” she shared. “The more distinctive, the better.”
“[With both] it’s really a depiction of the word ‘skin.’ And there’s two things here, not only is the name not really that distinctive, it’s kind of descriptive,” she explained. “But also for both of them, there are previous owners that own the terms (skin, skn, skkn). So Lori and Kim may also have other issues with other parties that no one is even mentioning, because they hold the registration for those brand names.”
Here Pierce refers to the the Brooklyn-based skincare studio, SKKN+, who actually filed to trademark the ‘SKKN+’ name just days ahead of Kim Kardashian.
According to PageSix“After the makeup mogul filed to trademark both SKKN and SKKN by KIMher legal team received a cease and desist letter from Beauty Concepts LLC, who claim they’ve already locked down the moniker for salon, skincare and spa services.”
In a letter obtained by PageSix Style, Lunsford claimed that she had operated salons under the SKKN+ brand name since 2018. And she is not letting up in her fight.
The SKKN+ founder is now pushing for Kardashian to abandon her branding completely, claiming that such a similar name will cause confusion to consumers.
“Under trademark infringement, you always want to look at different elements to determine whether there will be a likelihood of confusion,” Pierce explains.
While Kim’s brand name SKKN BY KIM may fall into question in her battle with the SKKN+ founder. It will ultimately be her design and packaging that will be questioned in the case with Harvey.
“Lori’s product packaging is a distinctive blue, while Kim’s product is more earth tone. But the bottles do have a similar look and feel, and that’s what initially threw people off,” Pierce explained.
“There’s also a part where you can be confused because [the similarities may lead you to think] that one brand is sponsoring the other brand,” Pierce shared. “And if you compare the two, some may say that they think Lori’s is more of the general brand and Kim’s is more for sensitive skin types.”
“So it really depends on how public opinion is forming about both brands. And based on public opinion already, a lot of people feel that it’s already confusing,” Pierce shared.
When asked for her personal opinion on how this case may pan out, Pierce says that SKKN BY KIM may actually have a chance when it goes head to head with SKKN+.
Because SKKN+ has made clear its use and employment of skincare services, SKKN BY KIM will be left to operate in other realms that may not infringe on, or include, that area of use.
As for SKKN BY KIM’s standing against SKN By LH, Pierce believes that the ruling can land in favor of either brand.
“I do think they are going to have some challenges because the dominant name is ‘skin’ and it’s not distinctive within itself,” she explained. “There can be some arguments made about the packaging, but the packaging is also different colors.”
“Ultimately, I would recommend the use of a coexisting agreement. It’s one of the best things to utilize in trademark law,” she explained. “They’re really like settlement agreements but they also determine how brand leaders are going to govern themselves in the marketplace to ensure that there’s no confusion between either brand.”
Pierce believes that as long as each skincare head continues to clearly emphasize the “By KIM” and “By LH” in their brand names, there should not be any further issues in their lifetime of coexisting.
“That will help educate consumers to know that these are two different brands offered by two different sources, which really is the main purpose of the trademark,” she explained. “We want our consumers to know exactly who they are getting their products and services from.”
Both Lori Harvey and Desi Perkins have yet to publicly share their thoughts on the similarities of SKKN BY KIM to their respective skincare lines.
Be sure to keep up with Rosezena J. Pierce on Instagram @TheBizLawyerwhere she shares advice and educational content for entrepreneurs to understand all they need to know about trademarks and more!