WOW! Did the Kardashians Actually Make the Right Business Move??

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I have to say the answer is surprisingly yes, being that the final, long awaited settlement was finally filed regarding the last of the Kardashians’ cosmetics brand’s legal disputes. The Kardashians’ cosmetics brand, originally “KHROMA”, now “KARDASHIAN BEAUTY”, has certainly faced its fair share of legal challenges since launching in November 2012, with two separate lawsuits quickly initiated. Fashion Nexus has been there every step of the way with any major updates such as the grant of a preliminary injunction and then with the Kardashians’ brand’s name change for their mark.

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The first legal challenge to the KHROMA mark came from CHROMA, a Beverly Hills make-up studio. A settlement for that action was filed on November 14th, 2013. I was surprised this suit was settled first being that an injunction was not issued regarding this suit. But finally, the second settlement came in on April 18th, which was between Boldface (the company who holds the rights to the Kardashians’ name and likenesses) and KROMA, the cosmetics line/brand owned by Lee Tillett. The Notice of Settlement states that it would be for the entire action and provided for “certain actions to be taken over a period of time.” The parties requested a stay for the entire case until February 15, 2015, at which point a stipulation for dismissal would be filed.

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The court questioned nothing except for why it would take so long to file a stipulation for dismissal. The court found a stay to be unnecessary “given the Court retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.” The parties were ordered to file a stipulation for dismissal no later than May 23rd, which was later extended to June 2nd.

The Daily Mail reported that the sisters attempted to distance themselves from this case, “asking the judge to dismiss them from the suit as they claimed they were not involved in the running of Boldface.” I am unable to find any such request in the case’s docket history. But the thought isn’t so shocking when you consider just how many losses the Kardashians experienced during the pendency of this case.

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A preliminary injunction was granted in early 2013. The Kardashian team then sought a stay with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in order to reverse the grant of injunctive relief, but on May 31, 2013 the motion was denied. The Court of Appeals agreed with the lower district court holding that the 4-factor test for a preliminary injunction was satisfied – (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) irreparable harm to Tillett; (3) a balance of equities were not in favor of Boldface; and (4) no best interest of the public.

A permanent injunction was then granted on August 13, 2013. This grant was probably the clearest sign that Tillett was likely to win her case. In fact, it was specifically one of the factors she had to prove in order to receive injunctive relief! But rather than settle, the Kardashians moved for summary judgment on November 26th, 2013. But I’m guessing after yet another strike against Boldface came to surface that finally the right move to settle came to fruition.

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On November 27th, 2013, Tillett and Boldface filed a “Report to Court”, which was made to bring to the court’s attention inadvertent violations of the injunction. Boldface’s report attempted to explain how over 3000 boxes of KHROMA branded products were shipped after the effective date of the injunction. On March 20th, 2014, the Court held Boldface in civil contempt for “failure to comply with the injunction” with regard to certain shipments. I’m sure if the Kardashians wished to distance themselves, it was likely regarding this huge oversight! But as far as being dismissed from the case entirely, this was highly unlikely since the question was never about how Boldface ran their business, but about trademark infringement over the use of the KHROMA mark.

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While it’s likely the Kardashians were not directly involved with the violation to the injunction, it would not be enough to dismiss them from this case. They made the decision to use this mark and embark upon this long battle with Tillett. The decision to fight versus settling occurred for over 2 years. It’s very unlikely the Kardashians or their legal team didn’t have a say-so with regard to the legal moves for this case. In fact, I’m almost 100% positive their agreement with Boldface would have established their retaining of rights when it came to issues of infringement or other legal disputes. This is quite standard for licensing agreements.

I will go ahead and end on that note. It appears this case is finally coming to a close so I guess so too should my rant/soapbox! I’ve always called that a settlement should happen here and I’m happy to report now that it has!

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