Kim Kardashian is fighting back against a small business owner who sued her over the rights to the name of her skincare line!
As we’ve previously reported, the 41-year-old reality TV star was sued in 2021 by a woman named Cydnie Lunsford who operates a small aesthetician business, Beauty Concepts LLC, in Brooklyn. At the time, Lunsford claimed trademark infringement via Kim’s SKKN By Kim brand, alleging that her small biz had first branded SKKN+ waaaaay back in 2017.
In her suit, Lunsford explained her Brooklyn-based brand had survived considerable adversity as a Black- and woman-owned business that made it through 2020’s lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic. Beauty Concepts then was shocked to discover that Kim was pushing forward with the SKKN name — a trademark supposedly already claimed by Lunsford’s LLC.
But Kim has evidently had enough of these trademark-swiping allegations — and she’s fighting back HARD! On Tuesday afternoon, TMZ relayed the (very strong) words of Kim’s lead attorney, Michael Rhodes. In his statement about the flap, Rhodes called out Lunsford’s suit, cryptically warning it was “not what it seems.”
Straight-up calling the legal maneuver a “shakedown effort,” Rhodes shared:
“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.”
The attorney, who also represented Kim’s family in their high-profile trial facing down Blac Chyna that ended last month, explained the star’s version of the timeline in this trademark suit:
“Mid-last year, we received a letter from Beauty Concepts, an esthetician studio in Brooklyn owned by Ms. Lunsford. 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. 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. The business was a one-person shop offering facials from a single Brooklyn location. The salon had no signage and was by appointment only. To our knowledge, Beauty Concepts sold no products under the SKKN+ name.”
Rhodes also alleged that Lunsford’s apparent attempt to trademark “SKKN” was supposedly rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The powerful attorney stated:
“Beauty Concepts asked that we drop the SKKN name. Of course we said no. Beauty Concepts then challenged Ms. Kardashian’s trademark applications at the USPTO. Unsurprisingly, the USPTO rejected Beauty Concepts’ own SKKN+ mark saying that “skkn” just means ‘skin.’ Undaunted, Beauty Concepts then tried to make its business seem more than it was — it leased a new storefront, changed its website, etc.”
At the end of the day — in Kim’s view, at least — this whole thing apparently comes down to money. Rhodes claimed that the Selfish author’s team has worked hard to try to make things right with Lunsford, only to supposedly be met with radio silence.
He stated that Beauty Concepts’ small presence in Brooklyn “does not give it the right to shut down a global skin care line,” and added:
“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 skin care line. We discovered that Beauty Concepts was doing business at one point without the legally required licenses. In the end, Beauty Concepts didn’t really engage with us beyond demanding a lot of money.”
Rhodes closed in a flourish, specifically mentioning that Kim’s team is apparently planning on taking this thing to court if it comes to that:
“Since we’ve done nothing wrong, we stood our ground. 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.”