Kim Kardashian is embroiled in a new lawsuit filed by a small black business owner. According to TMZ, she is being sued for trademark infringement for her skincare line SKKN+.
The first ceasefire letter
Cydnie Lunsford, the founder of Beauty Concepts, claims that Kardashian stole the name of their salon services called SKNN+.
Before the lawsuit began, Lunsford hit Kimsaprincess — her company — with a strike last year. The letter came in after Lunsford and Kardashian started trademarking the name, which is the first to use since 2018. In addition, she entered the trademark office two days before the reality TV star did. At the time, Kardashian’s attorney Michael G. Rhodes stated that he was “hopeful we can smooth things out once both sides speak,” regarding the shutdown.
The battle for trademarks continues
Four years later, Beauty Concepts has instead gone to court. Black’s small business doesn’t seem to be going down without a fight, despite Kardashian’s huge celebrity status. The Lunsford brand claims the launch of Kardashian’s skincare line is causing confusion among its customers, pointing out the difficulty of running a business of its size while surviving the pandemic.
Rhodes doesn’t accept Lunsford’s accusations, because “running a small esthetician business in Brooklyn doesn’t entitle it to shut down a global skincare line.”
Attorney for Kim Kardashian, 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 falsely claim that we did something wrong. Beauty Concepts claimed in its letter to own the rights to a logo made up of SKKN+ and had just filed for trademark protection for that logo. The company was a sole proprietorship that offered facials from a single location in Brooklyn. The salon had no signage and was by appointment only. To our knowledge, Beauty Concepts has not sold any products under the SKKN+ name.”
He continued: “Beauty Concepts has asked us to drop the name SKKN. Of course we said no. Beauty Concepts then challenged Ms. Kardashian’s trademark filings with the USPTO. Unsurprisingly, the USPTO rejected Beauty Concepts’ own SKKN+ mark, saying “skkn” simply means “skin.” Undeterred, Beauty Concepts then tried to make its business appear more than it was — it rented a new storefront, changed its website, etc.”
Does Cydnie Lunsford have a chance of winning the lawsuit?
As the lawsuit progresses, only time will tell if Lunsford can claim victory over the trademark.
“I’ve painstakingly built my successful small business with my own sweating skills, hard work and research. It’s clear that I started my brand first,” Lunsford previously shared with Forbes. “As a young black woman, my mission with SKKN+ is to Providing high-quality skincare and whole-body curated experiences to enhance each client’s self-care regimen, the (+) represents a hands-on transformative aesthetic experience that elevates 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 from Glamor covered the controversy that not only did her line’s name resemble Lunsford’s, but Lori Harvey’s SKN by LH — another of Black’s beauty brands.