Ever since Keeping Up With The Kardashians burst onto our screens in 2007, Kris Jenner and the rest of the Kardashian/Jenner family have been working hard to make sure their names stay in the limelight. Central to this is an uncompromising trade mark filing policy, intended to protect anything they consider to fall under their personal branding, and including some interesting applications and disputes.
Whilst some of these trade marks relate to legitimate business interests, such as clothing lines and beauty brands and, it seems that one family member or another is never very far from a trade mark related headline. And with over 700 trade marks in the Kardashian/Jenner fold, there is plenty of scope for someone to find something to complain about. Here, we take a look at the more controversial trade marks and recent trade mark battles of the famous family.
Let’s start with the children’s names. Kylie Jenner and rapper Travis Scott recently secured protection for their daughter Stormi’s name, and the phrase “Stormiworld” which stems from the theme of Stormi’s first birthday party (and also makes a passing reference to her dad’s “Astroworld” album).
Kylie’s actions are not without precedent: the original Kardashian/rapper combination, Kim and Kanye West, have taken out trade mark protection for all of their children’s names – North West, Saint West, Chicago West and Psalm West.
Trade mark protection has also been secured by Khloé Kardashian for her daughter True’s name.
Whilst on the subject of names, Kylie Jenner’s attempt to protect Kylie as a stand-alone trade mark was thwarted in 2015 after an objection was raised by Kylie Minogue.
Kylie also hit the news after a video went viral of her singing the well known phrase “rise and shine” to Stormi. When the clip started trending, Kylie wasted no time in filing two trade mark applications for the phrase covering such things as cosmetics, clothing, footwear and other accessories.
That is by far not the only time one of the Kardashians has been in the news in relation to a trade mark issue.
In July 2019, Kim Kardashian was awarded $2.7 million after the fast fashion retailer Missguided was found to have used Kim’s “persona and trademarks” to sell clothing items similar to those worn by Kim.
This win for Kim was, however, quickly followed by a controversy that did not go her way. The announcement that her shapewear clothing brand would be called Kimono led to an outcry from Japanese cultural experts – and, in fact, the majority of Japan – as well as the trending of the #KimOhNo hashtag on social media. Despite trade mark protection having being sought for the name, the accusations of cultural appropriation and insensitivity led to Kim rebranding the range as SKIMS Solutionwear.
Kim was also in the news in October 2019, when she was moved to defend the trade mark for her initials “KKW” against a later application for the same letter combination. Kim argued that the goods included in the application were similar to those covered by her registered mark, and as such would cause confusion for customers. As the applicant of the later trade mark did not respond, the application has now been abandoned.
Looking deeper into the portfolios of the Kardashian/Jenners, there is a definite trend for trade marks starting with the letter K.
Kim in particular has a fondness for replacing the letter C with a K, to keep things on-brand and give an air of distinctiveness, for example:
- Kardashian Khaos
- Kardashian Kollection Kurves
Kylie, meanwhile – in addition to the aforementioned Stormi- related marks – has hit upon the fact that the first two letters of her name can be used in place of the word “eye” to create a whole host of make up related marks:
Kendall Jenner, the model and elder daughter of Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, has also got in on the act, securing trade marks covering business lines and making it known which family they relate to:
- Cake by Kendall and Cara (with “Cara” likely referring to Kendall’s friend and fellow model, Cara Delevingne)
- Metal Haven by Kendall and Kylie
- Kendall + Kylie
We could add to the list the similar activities of Kim’s husband, rapper Kanye West, who has a penchant for trade marks relating to the “ye” aspect of his name – with his portfolio including the marks Yeezi, Yeezus, Yeezy and Yeezy Sound.
With Keeping up with the Kardashians now in its 17th season, and the celebrity of the Kardashians, Kardashian-Wests and Jenners showing no sign of fading, we can expect more headline-making trade mark applications and further controversies to follow…
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