Feb 27, 2019

Hair Bear Bunch of Kardashians

The wider Kardashian family (including younger sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner) do not seem to be able to stay out of the intellectual property news lately.

Perhaps that is because when they throw their hefty social media weight behind something, it inevitably becomes a target for opportunist copycats and infringers. Perhaps, however, it is because the products that the clan endorse are less robustly protected than they should be. While we hear often about a Kardashian-endorsed product being copied and a lawsuit following, we hear much less about successful resolutions.

In today's news we look at Be Sweet Creations LLC's "SugarBearHair" chewable gummy-bear vitamins. They are essentially flavoured generic vitamin supplements shaped like gummy bears and touted by Kylie Jenner to her significant Instagram following as making her "natural hair look and feel amazing". Modesty is nothing in the social media age.

Be Sweet Creations is a social media driven and supported company. It has been reported that in March 2018 alone it paid over $300,000 to influencers to promote its brand. Quite understandably, then, it is vexed by an alleged copycat popping up in Texas called Truereflections Inc, which is accused of "wilfully, intentionally, and deliberately" copying the design of the SugarBearHair product: namely a vitamin gummy-bear in a blue colour. This, the claim alleges, infringes a federal trademark for the appearance of that gummy bear.

There is a further allegation of infringement of trade dress – the US equivalent of passing off – as the Truereflections products are being sold in similar packaging and with a similar marketing strategy to those of Be Sweet Creations.

While this is not a case of one of the Kardashian brands becoming embroiled in litigation, it is a further example of the pitfalls of using the Kardashians and Jenners as brand ambassadors and influencers: while their reach is undoubtedly among the widest on the planet, it is also a strong lure for copyists.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: EU/International, Passing Off, Trade Marks

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