Kardashian sisters’ Khroma Beauty debut make-up line has been forced to change its name to Kardashian Beauty in a trademark dispute.
WWD reports that the rebrand is being made to end an 8 month-long trademark dispute between the Kardashians and a Florida-based company called Kroma Makeup, which sought $10 million in damages.
An array of Khroma Beauty products had already been produced, promoted and were ready to hit more than 5,000 retailers across the U.S. but now the costly task of relabeling will begin.
Despite the announced changes, the Kardashian’s original website, www.khromabeauty.com, and Facebook page are still currently functioning.
The long-running saga started last June when Lee Tillett, the founder of Kroma Makeup, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Boldface Group Inc, the branding company behind the Kardashian’s Khroma Beauty line, accusing it of “stealing” the name.
Lee Tillett set up her company in 2004 and trademarked the name Kroma – which apparently means “color” in Greek – six years later.
In the legal case she sought $10 million in damages, claiming that the Kardashian sisters’ company, for which they are set to make at least $6.2 million, would cause confusion in the marketplace.
And it appeared that those leading the case agreed. After months of heavy promotion the Kardashians were instructed to stop distributing products this March.
“Tillett has demonstrated that [she] will likely lose business opportunities, customers and goodwill due to Boldface’s use of the confusingly similar Khroma Beauty marks,” Judge Audrey Collins, said in her ruling.
“The court has little doubt that, in short order, the Khroma Beauty products will likely eliminate Tillett’s business entirely, creating irreparable harm sufficient to justify an injunction.”
Boldface Group Inc appealed the decision, seeking to reverse the U.S. District Court’s injunction so Khroma Beauty products could go on sale, but this was not granted.
As a result Khroma Beauty has now officially changed its name to Kardashian Beauty.
Florida native, Lee Tillett, previously told the Orlando Sentinel: “I developed the Kroma line myself, built my business through my own hard work, and took the legal steps necessary to protect it.
“And yet I have now been forced into legal battle with the Kardashians simply because they have decided to take something that doesn’t belong to them.”
In her formal federal court response she claims the promotion of Khroma was likely to mislead customers into thinking her line is associated with the Kardashian sisters.
Lee Tillett added: “The false association is damaging … and threatens to destroy its business.”
According to the counter-claims, Boldface Group Inc had paid the Kardashians an upfront advance of $1 million for licensing rights, with guaranteed minimum royalty payments of $4.6 million to $5.2 million.
As part of the deal, they allegedly have some power over the product line and that Kim Kardashian “proposed” it be called Khroma.
Lee Tillett’s attorney Elliot Gipson claims Kim Kardashian should have known better.
He pointed to discussions by representatives for himself and TLK Fusion, which allegedly acted as Kardashian’s product-placement agent for a show that was being produced by Kim Kardashian.
Elliot Gipson said: “On or about May 2010, representatives for Tillett and TLK Fusion were engaged in discussions regarding the possible product placement of the KROMA cosmetics line on the television reality show special The SPINdustry that was scheduled to air on E! Entertainment Television following an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
No deal was ever reached, but if this is true she could have had advance knowledge that the name was already in use.