It looked like they were onto yet another money-spinning winner when they launched their own cosmetics line. But it looks like the Kardashian Klan could be left with an expensive legal bill after they were sued for allegedly stealing the name for Khroma Beauty, for which they are guaranteed to make up to $6.2 million. Make-up artist Lee Tillett is seeking $10m in damages from the sisters and Boldface Group Inc, which markets their line.
Not as smart as she thinks? Kim Kardashian ‘came up’ with the name of the Khroma line but is now being sued.
She claims it infringes on her Kroma Make-up line, which she founded back in 2004. Florida native Miss Tillett told the Orlando Sentinel: ‘I developed the Kroma line myself, built my business through my own hard work, and took the legal steps necessary to protect it. ’And yet I have now been forced into legal battle with the Kardashians simply because they have decided to take something that doesn’t belong to them.’
It is the latest move in a legal tussle that began when she sent a cease and desist letter last July urging them to stop using the name. In response Boldface petition a California federal court to get a judgement the name Kroma ‘consists solely of a descriptive term and lacks any inherent distinctive meaning to the relevant consuming public and therefore is conceptually weak.’
On the Kroma website it states the word means colour in Greek, but adds how Miss Tillett used her 22 years (experience) of creating looks for thousands of women’ and ‘personally selected all of the shades and has personally made all of the formulas.’
And in her formal federal court response she claims the promotion of Khroma was likely to mislead customers into thinking her line is associated with the Kardashian sisters. She added: ‘The false association is damaging … and threatens to destroy its business.’
According to the counter-claims, Boldface has paid the Kardashians an upfront advance of $1m for licensing rights, with guaranteed minimum royalty payments of $4.6 million to $5.2 million, depending on launch dates of various products. As part of the deal, they allegedly have some power over the product line and that Kim ‘proposed’ it be called Khroma. Miss Tillett’s attorney Elliot Gipson claims the 32-year-old should have known better.
He pointed to discussions by representatives for himself and TLK Fusion, which allegedly acted as Kardashian’s product-placement agent for a show that was being produced by Kim. He said: ‘On or about May 2010, representatives for Tillett and TLK Fusion were engaged in discussions regarding the possible product placement of the KROMA cosmetics line on the television reality show special The SPINdustry that was scheduled to air on E! Entertainment Television following an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.’
No deal was ever reached, but if this is true she could have advance knowledge the name was already in use. Kardashian spokesman Todd Wilson claims the sisters ‘have acted properly at all times’. This is not the only lawsuit the product line is engulfed in at the moment. Los Angeles-based Chroma Makeup Studio is also suing for alleged trademark infringement.