Kim Kardashian isn’t letting this lawsuit get under her skin.
The superstar is being sued for trademark infringement over her new skincare line, Skkn by Kim, by black-owned Brooklyn esthetician studio Beauty Concepts — whose founder, Cyndie Lunsford, says she’s owned the Skkn+ mark since 2018.
But Kardashian’s attorney, Michael Rhodes, is fighting back; in a statement shared with Page Six Style, he slammed the suit as a “shakedown effort.”
“This lawsuit is not what it seems,” his statement begins, before acknowledging the cease and desist letter his client received from Lunsford last year.
“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,” Rhodes said.Cyndie Lunsford says she’s owned the Skkn+ mark since 2018.skknplus/Instagram
“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.”
When Kardashian refused to drop the Skkn branding for her own line, the statement claims, Beauty Concepts challenged the star’s application directly with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.Skkn by Kim launched in June 2022 with nine products.kimkardashian/Instagram
“Unsurprisingly, the USPTO rejected Beauty Concepts’ own SKKN+ mark saying that ‘skkn’ just means ‘skin,'” Rhodes said.
The lawyer claims Kardashian’s camp reached out “several times” to “[try] to find a sensible path to coexistence,” but that Beauty Concepts “didn’t really engage with us beyond demanding a lot of money.”It’s not the first time Kardashian’s faced roadblocks when naming her brands.NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Im
He concluded by calling the case “less about the law of trademarks and more about trying to leverage a settlement by threatening to harm Ms. Kardashian’s name and reputation,” adding, “That’s not going to work.”
In Beauty Concepts’ original cease and desist letter, sent in 2021 after Kardashian filed to trademark both Skkn and Skkn by Kim, Lunsford wrote, “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.”“It is hard to believe that Kardashian’s team either did not know about the prior use of SKKN+ or knew and adopted the SKKN brand name anyway to steamroll a small, minority business,” Lunsford’s attorney told Forbes in 2021.LinkedIn
It’s not the first time Kardashian’s latest venture has landed her in hot water; earlier this month, social media critics called out the similarities between Skkn by Kim and Skn by LH, Lori Harvey’s skincare brand launched in 2021.
At the time, sources close to the Skims founder told Page Six Style the USPTO didn’t cite any issues regarding Harvey’s trademark while Kardashian was applying for hers.
Beauty Concepts didn’t immediately reply to our request for comment.