After Hailey Bieber unveiled a skincare line with the same name as her middle name, RHODE, a 9-year-old fashion firm, filed a trademark infringement complaint against the model.
Two of the designers behind the RHODE clothing line sued the model, 25, in federal court in New York’s Southern District on Tuesday.
Rhode, Hailey Bieber’s Skincare Company, Sued For Trademark Infringement By Fashion Designers!!
Since May 2013, Khatau and Vickers “dedicated ourselves to growing and nurturing the RHODE brand through much personal sacrifice and hardship” according to the petition. Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as well as celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Mindy Kaling, are now selling the brand. According to the lawsuit, RHODE is slated to earn $14.5 million this year.
Several typical apparels and accessory items are branded with the RHODE trademark, which is owned by Khatau and Vickers. According to Khatau, they’ve also applied to expand into other industries, such as household goods, and are exploring expanding into cosmetics and skincare.
Khatau claims she and Vickers saw “confusion in the marketplace” shortly after Bieber debuted her Rhode skincare line earlier this month, which has already affected their brand.
The lawsuit alleges that Instagram first promised the @rhode handle to the designers since it was “dormant per Instagram policy, but after initially promising it to us, Instagram decided to allow Ms. Bieber to use it even though it had no posts until June 8, 2022.”
At the time of the filing, Bieber’s personal Instagram account (followed by more than 45 million followers) had more than 600,000 likes on a joint Instagram post.
243 million Instagram followers, Justin Bieber, 28, has also marketed his wife’s brand on Instagram. According to court filings, his post received more than 1 million likes. Hailey’s @rhode Instagram account has also been tagged instead of the plaintiffs’ @shoprhode Instagram account when photographs of celebrities wearing their clothing line are shared.
Khatau claims in the lawsuit that “We have real concerns about the future.” “We put blood, sweat, and tears into this brand for years … It is disappointing to me that an entrepreneurial woman, whom we’ve long been fans of, is trying to stifle what we have built.”
Hailey allegedly stated, “Clothes will come:),” in answer to a TikTok fan who inquired as to whether or not she would develop a clothing line called “Rhode,” according to Vickers’ own affidavit.
According to court records, Vickers and Khatau petitioned the court for a preliminary injunction ordering Hailey to stop using the name “Rhode” for her brand. To avoid any more misunderstandings, the two of them asked her to rename her skincare line in a statement that was provided to the media.
“The brand Rhode is everything we have worked hard to achieve, and her using our name is hurting our company, our employees, our customers, and our partners,” they said.
When Hailey tried to acquire the rights to the name ‘Rhode‘ from them four years ago, the co-founders say they turned it down.
As Vickers and Khatau pointed out, “Unfortunately, that Hailey is currently focusing on skin care while we focus on fashion has not been preventing brand confusion, and it won’t in the future.” “We’re both parts of a larger beauty market in which fashion and cosmetics closely overlap and often collaborate.”
“Hailey has stated that she wants to pursue a clothing line, and she even applied for ‘Rhode’ as a trademark for clothing,” they added. “We welcome competition – we just don’t want competitors using our name.”
The clothing company‘s lawyer, Lisa T. Simpson, called the situation “unfortunate” in a separate statement.
“We, of course, understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand, but the law on this is clear: you can’t create this kind of brand confusion just because you want to use your name,” she added. “What Ms. Bieber is doing is harming a minority co-owned business that two women have painstakingly built into a growing, global brand.”