Rhodethat fashion brand co-founded by Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers in 2014, takes legal action against Hailey Bieber and her skin care linealso Rhode, over his name.
Rhode-NYC, LLC on Tuesday filed a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Bieber and her companies, citing trademark infringement and unfair competition. (Bieber, Rhodedeodato Corp., and HRBeauty LLC are listed as defenders.) The news of the lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.
According to the complaint, Rhode, the fashion brand, has three registered trademarks – one for clothing; one for handbags; and one for textiles, children’s and women’s clothing, hair accessories, dolls, puzzles and holiday decorations. In the case, the plaintiffs allege that Bieber and her companies tried to buy the clothing brand from Khatau and Vickers in late 2018, but they said no; and that the fashion brand has been in touch with the defenders’ legal advisers since. (That Wall Street Journal reports that although Bieber’s company filed an application for trademark Rhode with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May, it has not been granted review.)
Rhode, the fashion brand, also claims that since the launch of Bieber’s beauty line, there has been confusion in the market between the two companies, “as consumers encounter dueling Instagram handles and websites with ‘Rhode’ in the name and wonder if Rhodes’ products is actually Bieber’s, or Rhode has even launched a skincare line with an influencer, “according to the complaint.
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In a joint statement issued to the press on Tuesday, Khatau and Vickers said they “were forced to sue Hailey Bieber and her skincare line … to protect our business.”
“While we are a global brand, we are still a young and growing company, and we can not overcome a celebrity with Hailey’s followers who use our company name to sell related products,” the statement said. “We admire Hailey. She has worked hard and deserved the ability to create her own skincare line. We do not want to sue Hailey; we want to celebrate her. Like other female entrepreneurs, we wish her every success. Hailey has the hard-earned star power and influence. She could choose any brand for her company. We only have the ‘RHODE’ brand that we have built. Therefore we ask her to change the brand on her new skin care series. It clearly means a lot to her, but the brand Rhode is everything we have worked hard to achieve, and her use of our name harms our company, our employees, our customers and our partners. ”
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Lisa T. Simpson, representing the plaintiff, also issued a statement on the case, calling it “an unfortunate circumstance.”
“We understand, of course, that Hailey wants to use his middle name for his brand, but the law of this is clear: You can not create this kind of brand confusion just because you want to use your name,” she said. “What Ms. Beiber is doing is harming a minority-owned company that two women have painstakingly built into a growing, global brand.”
Fashionista has contacted Rhode, the beauty brand, for a comment and will update this story when we hear back.