Things aren't looking up for the Kardashians' star, who is being sued over her newly launched skincare brand, Skkn. A Brooklyn-based, black-owned small business called Beauty Concepts—which provides salon services under the title SKKN+—is suing Kim Kardashian for launching a brand with a strikingly similar name. Founder Esthetician Cydnie Lunsford also claims that the reality TV star is in a legal fix owing to trademark infringement, unfair competition, unlawful deceptive acts and business practices, civil conspiracy, common law unjust enrichment, and reverse confusion.
In her lawsuit, filed on 28th June in a New York federal court, Lunsford states that her company, Beauty Concepts, has "conducted business continuously under the SKKN+ brand in Washington, DC and/or New York, New York, since at least August 2018." The lawsuit adds, "Beauty Concepts actively seeks to advertise, market, and serve clients of all genders, races, and ethnicities—specialising in corrective skin care for all skin types. Notably, Beauty Concepts is a Black-owned business and seeks to ensure its services specifically serve Black women and other women of colour, who have been historically underserved, excluded, and diminished by the beauty industry."
Kiki's lawyers have responded to the lawsuit and said, "We applaud Ms Lunsford for being a small business owner and following her dreams. But that doesn't give her the right to wrongfully claim that we've done something wrong." Her attorney, Michael Rhodes, added, "This lawsuit is not what it seems. SKKN BY KIM is a new brand that follows in the footsteps of Ms Kardashian's successful KKW line of products. Building on independent research and development, her company filed a trademark application for SKKN BY KIM to protect the new branded products. This prompted the current shakedown effort."
Beauty Concepts has also revealed that it reached out to the defendants "to request that they abandon their plans to use a mark incorporating the most significant elements of Beauty Concepts' mark SKKN+, namely the letters 'SKKN'." However, the defendants “willfully and deliberately chose to proceed with their plans to use the SKKN and SKKN BY KIM brand in total disregard of Beauty Concepts’ superior trademark rights."
On 28th March 2021, Beauty Concepts filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark its SKKN+ logo mark for use in the beauty salon and skincare services. Two days later, the celebrity filed several trademark applications to be able to use the term 'SKKN BY KIM' for her skin care product line and merchandise, and in the following month, she filed to trademark the word 'SKKN' for use in skincare products, without any specific styling.
"Mid-last year, we received a letter from Beauty Concepts, an esthetician studio in Brooklyn owned by Ms Lunsford. In its letter, Beauty Concepts claimed to own rights to a logo made up of SKKN+ and had just filed for trademark protection for that logo. To our knowledge, Beauty Concepts sold no products under the SKKN+ name. We think the case is less about the law of trademarks and more about trying to leverage a settlement by threatening to harm Ms Kardashian's name and reputation. That's not going to work and we look forward to presenting our case in court," Rhodes said in a statement to E! News.
He further confessed, "Beauty Concepts asked that we drop the SKKN name. Of course, we said no. Several times we reached out to Beauty Concepts, trying to find a sensible path to coexistence. We pointed out that running a small esthetician business in Brooklyn does not give it the right to shut down a global skincare line. Since we've done nothing wrong, we stood our ground."
Kimberly Kardashian launched her skincare brand Skkn on 21st June 2022, adding to her entrepreneurial repertoire of brands, including KKW Beauty, SKIMS—which was renamed from Kimono after being criticised for cultural appropriation—and the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game. Skkn houses a wide range of superior-quality products from exfoliators to potent eye creams, exclusively available for purchase on their website. While the beauty brand does ship internationally, Skkn products are not accessible to buyers in India as yet.