Earlier this year, the reality-TV star turned business-woman Kim Kardashian West initiated proceedings against Missguided in California. Her case was based on the claims that Misguided was infringing her trademark rights, and on US laws protecting her right to publicity.
The suit was brought in relation to Missguided’s practice of producing look-alike of garments worn by Kim and marketing them alongside her images or her name. It is important to note that the name of the reality-TV star is a registered trademark in the United States.
The case was initiated subsequent to an Instagram exchange between the celebrity and the brand after Kim posted a picture of herself in a dress designed by her husband, Kanye West, with the caption : “fast fashion brands … please wait until I wear this in real life before you knock it off?” Missguided posted a picture of a model in a similar dress within a few hours with the caption: “The devil works hard but Missguided works harder. @kimkardashian you’ve only got a few days before this drops online”.
In her complaint Kardashian stated that “Missguided has become particularly well-known for copying designs worn by famous celebrities, which it then offers for sale on its sites within days—sometimes even hours—of the celebrity appearing in the clothing.” Further “Missguided’s U.S. website has included entire pages that are devoted solely to the sale of clothing inspired by Kardashian, and on which Kardashian’s name and likeness are prominently used without her permission to promote the products.”
The complaint also emphasised on the use of Kardashian’s name and likeness on Instagram. Missguided often used pictures of the Kim Kardashian and her name in their Instagram posts to promote their brand and products. The complaint argued that that the public “is likely to and has come to the mistaken conclusion that she is affiliated with Missguided”, and that Missguided had “purposefully” included Kardashian’s Instagram username (@kimkardashian) in its posts “to capitalize on her celebrity status and social media following”.
As Kim Kardashian is a well paid spokesperson and brand endorser, her complaint asserted that “Kardashian’s control over the use of her name, likeness, and trademarks in promoting third-party products and services is absolutely critical to safeguard her reputation, and to prevent the public from being misled into believing that she has associated herself with some product or service that she does not endorse.”
The case was decided in default after Missguided failed to engage in court proceedings. The court awarded $2.7 million to the reality TV star along with an award for the costs of attorney’s fees. The Court also issued an injunction against Missguided prohibiting it from using Kim Kardashian’s trademark in connection with sale, marketing or distribution of its products.