Hailey Bieber is being sued by the L.A. fashion label Rhode for possible trademark infringement a week after the launch of her much-anticipated beauty line Rhode. In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, the label started by Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers in 2014 and sold by Net-a-Porter, Matchesfashion, and Neiman Marcus says that the model and influencer whose middle name is Rhode and two of her companies have caused market confusion by selling a skin care line with the same name. In this case, the court is asked to protect the Rhode trademark and stop Ms. Bieber from using the name of the Rhode brand.
In 2018, Bieber’s lawyer tried to buy the trademark registration for the fashion company. The co-founders refused to sell, so Bieber kept trying to get the name registered and started her own brand, according to a legal statement seen by Vogue Business. The lawsuit says that customers are likely to mix up the two brands and that the court needs to step in because “the size of Bieber’s fan base and the viral nature of her marketing will cause immediate, ongoing, and irreparable harm to the Rhode brand.” Vogue Business called and emailed a representative for Bieber’s Rhode brand, but did not hear back right away. Neither did direct messages on Instagram.
Hailey Bieber is famous because she is married to Justin Bieber. She has more than 45 million followers on Instagram and another 9.2 million on TikTok. Kylie Jenner, who is also a beauty entrepreneur, is one of her A-list friends. She has used social media to promote her brand. For example, a single post about Justin Bieber’s beauty line got more than 1.5 million likes. Some Instagram users have already tagged the wrong Rhode in pictures.
“We didn’t want to file this lawsuit, but we had to do it to protect our business. We are a global brand, but our company is still young and growing, and Khatau and Vickers said in a joint statement, “We cannot stop a celebrity with Hailey’s following from using our company’s name to sell related products.” “We’re happy to have competitors, but we don’t want them to use our name.” According to the lawsuit, sales of the Rhode fashion brand are expected to reach $14.5 million this year.
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Lisa T. Simpson, a lawyer for Rhode who works for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, said in an email statement that the dispute was a “bad situation.” Simpson said, “We understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand, but the law is clear: you can’t confuse people about your brand just because you want to use your name.” “This is a textbook case of reverse confusion, where a large junior user of a trademark threatens to crush the market of a smaller senior user.”