By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Two former college roommates who created a successful clothing line under the “Rhode” brand sued model Hailey Bieber on Tuesday, claiming she was confusing the market by marketing a line of skincare under the name Rhode.
The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court asked a judge to cite trademark infringement and restrain Bieber from selling or marketing products bearing the Rhode name. She also claimed unspecified damages.
The lawsuit said legal intervention was necessary because Hailey Bieber is a celebrity with more than 45 million Instagram followers who launched her skincare line last week and filed trademark applications to sell cosmetics. clothes.
Hailey Bieber is married to singer Justin Bieber, and the lawsuit said her husband promoted his business to his 243 million Instagram followers, generating 1.5 million likes with just one post. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers are seeking to protect the business they started in 2014 when they quit their day jobs to create a line of high-end clothing and accessories, targeting “feminine women. , confident and traveling well”.
Since then, he said, their products have been featured in Vogue, sold in stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus around the world, and worn by celebrities like Beyonce, Mindy Kaling and Rihanna. Sales are expected to reach $14.5 million this year, according to the lawsuit.
On the day her product launched, Hailey Bieber said in a Forbes article that she “really struggled” with “a media world that loves to perpetuate women against women,” according to the lawsuit.
“But the reality is that the ‘media world’ Ms. Bieber describes is at her disposal. And she chose to use it to crush a brand co-founded by a woman and a minority that simply cannot match her immense fame and followers,” the lawsuit said.
When her product line launched on June 15, Hailey Bieber appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, the lawsuit noted.
The lawsuit said confusion and damage to the brand launched by Khatau and Vickers is already widespread and it took some consumers days to believe the 8-year-old company was swapping the name for the new competitor. instead of the reverse.
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