The TV personality turned entrepreneur entirely denied — through her holding company Kimsaprincess Inc., where she serves as president — Weis’ claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition related to her KKW Beauty brand. The assertion came in a standard response filed last week in California federal court. But Kardashian West added that Weis is “precluded” from damages over her claims, citing some common legal arguments.
One is based on the doctrine of unclean hands, which is the notion that a plaintiff is acting “unethically” in pursuing legal action. Another is the doctrine of laches, the notion that a plaintiff essentially waited too long to bring their claims, putting the defendant at an unfair disadvantage.
Although Kardashian’s company did not elaborate on these stances in its response, it did ask that Weis be denied an award of any damages, including her request for profits realized from the sales of KKW products. It also asked that all legal fees related to the case be covered by Weis.
Representatives of Kardashian West, her company and Weis could not be reached for comment.
Weis launched the lawsuit in July in Illinois federal court, where her lead lawyer is based, and the parties spent several months fighting over whether the case should be transferred to California, where the KKW business is largely based and Kimsaprincess is incorporated. The courts in October agreed that a transfer was in order.
Weis is pushing for a permanent injunction against all KKW-branded product, because she believes the brand’s KKW mark is too similar to her own line of luxury organic skin-care and makeup products, which are branded KW and KW Kjaer Weis. Weis said she’s not only well known in the beauty and fashion industries by her full name, but also by her initials KKW.
A stylized KW mark was registered in 2012 by Weis as a trademark, and she sells her products through her own web site and a number of high-end beauty retailers, including Net-a-porter and Violet Grey. Kimsaprincess applied for its KKW marks last year.
Weis argued in her complaint that KKW is a “direct competitor” and that, with Kardashian West’s fame, shoppers will be confused as to whether she is affiliated with or sponsoring Weis’ products. Weis added that this confusion is likely to hurt the value of her KW marks and prevent her from “controlling the reputation and goodwill” that she’s established with her brand.
The makeup artist also said she attempted to resolve her claims without filing a suit, including a cease-and-desist letter in June, but was rejected.
With that, Weis asked the court to halt the sales of all KKW products and for unspecified punitive damages, including profits from KKW’s sales, which could be substantial. Although trademark and other intellectual property matters tend to settle out of court, Weis is also seeking a full jury trial.
KKW Beauty launched last year and its first run of products sold out online within hours and the products continue to sell through. Kardashian West in November added a trio of scents in a limited run, which also sold out quickly, adding an estimated $14.3 million in revenue to the company.
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