September 28, 2022

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Black Woman Beauty Founder Sues Kim Kardashian For Trademark Infringement For SKNN+

Kim Kardashian has found herself in a new lawsuit filed by a small, Black woman business owner. According to TMZ, she’s being sued for trademark infringement for her skincare line SKKN+.

The Initial Cease And Desist Letter

Cydnie Lunsford, the founder of Beauty Concepts, is alleging that Kardashian stole the name of their salon services named SKNN+.

Before the lawsuit began, Lunsford hit Kimsaprincess — her corporation — with a cease and desist last year. The letter came in after Lunsford and Kardashian went to trademark the name, which the former has used since 2018. In addition, she made it into the trademark office two days before the reality TV star did. At the time, Kardashian’s lawyer Michael G. Rhodes stated that he was “hopeful that we can smooth things over once both sides speak,” in regard to the cease and desist.

The Trademark Battle Continues

Four years later, Beauty Concepts has moved on to a lawsuit instead. The small Black-owned business appears to not be going down without a fight despite Kardashian’s big celebrity status. Lunsford’s brand alleges that the Kardashian’s skincare line launch is causing confusion for her customers, as well as noting the difficulty of running a business of her size while surviving the pandemic.

Rhodes isn’t buying Lunsford’s allegations since “running a small esthetician business in Brooklyn does not give it the right to shut down a global skincare line.”

Kim Kardashian’s Attorney, Michael G. Rhodes On The Lawsuit

“We applaud Ms. Lunsford for being a small business owner and following her dreams. But that doesn’t give her the right to wrongfully claim that we’ve done something wrong. In its letter, Beauty Concepts claimed to own rights to a logo made up of SKKN+, and had just filed for trademark protection for that logo. The business was a one-person shop offering facials from a single Brooklyn location. The salon had no signage and was by appointment only. To our knowledge, Beauty Concepts sold no products under the SKKN+ name.”

He continued: “Beauty Concepts asked that we drop the SKKN name. Of course, we said no. Beauty Concepts then challenged Ms. Kardashian’s trademark applications at the USPTO. Unsurprisingly, the USPTO rejected Beauty Concepts’ own SKKN+ mark saying that ‘skkn’ just means ‘skin.’ Undaunted, Beauty Concepts then tried to make its business seem more than it was — it leased a new storefront, changed its website, etc.” 

Does Cydnie Lunsford Have A Chance To Win The Lawsuit?

As the lawsuit progresses, only time will tell if Lunsford will be able to claim victory over the trademark.

“I have painstakingly built my successful small business with my own sweat equity, hard work, and research. It’s clear that I established my brand first,” Lunsford previously shared with Forbes. “As a young black woman, my mission with SKKN+ is to provide quality skin care and curated full-body experiences to enhance each client’s self-care regimen. The (+) represents a hands-on transformative aesthetic experience that elevates the body, mind, and spirit.”

But while the status of the case is pending, it’s worth noting the track record for Kardashian’s new brand. A report by Glamour covered the controversy of not only her line’s name being similar to Lunsford’s but also Lori Harvey’s SKN by LH — another Black-owned beauty brand.