Fashion Company RHODE has filed a lawsuit against supermodel Hailey Bieber for trademark infringement after the supermodel has launched her skincare line with the same name as the brand which is also her middle name.
According to PEOPLE, the 9-year-old clothing brand cofounders, Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers filed the lawsuit against the model on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The company was launched in May 2013 and according to Khatau and Vickers, they have dedicated themselves to growing and nurturing their brand, RHODE through personal sacrifice and hardship. The brand now has earned its reputable name and can be seen in luxury stores including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. The brand has been worn by celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and one of The Office cast, Mindy Kaling.
In filing this lawsuit, the Rhode clothing brand is expected to make $14.5 million this year.
RHODE trademark can be seen on several clothing items and accessories and Khatau and Vickers are planning to expand the brand’s trademark to other areas like household items, makeup, and skincare.
Earlier this month, Hailey Bieber launched her skincare line named RHODE and it results in an immediate confusion in the marketplace that caused a major problem for Khatau and Vicker’s own Rhode Brand.
According to the lawsuit, Instagram promised the @rhode to the designers first since it was dormant according to Instagram policy but after Instagram promised, Instagram allowed Hailey Bieber to use it even though it just started posting on June 8, 2022.
It was also noted that the post was linked with Bieber’s account which has more than 45 million followers and the post has garnered more than 600,000 likes at the time of filing.
According to court documents, her husband, Justin Bieber also posted her brand on his Instagram account which has 243 million followers and the post has gained more than a million likes. In addition to the lawsuit was that Hailey’s RHODE was tagged by people instead of the plaintiffs’ official clothing brand worn by celebrities.
Khatau says in the lawsuit that they are concerned about the brand’s future for they have put blood, sweat, and tears on their brands for years and they were disappointed that an entrepreneurial woman and someone that they are a fan of was trying to stifle what they have built.
Hailey previously said that she wanted Rhode to become a lifestyle brand when she responded to a Tiktok fan if she will release a clothing line.
In the statement given by Vickers and Khatau to PEOPLE, they asked Hailey to change the name of her skincare line and to stop using the name “Rhode” to avoid further confusion about the brand.
The co-founders said that the brand was everything to them and that they have worked hard to achieve everything they had and Hailey’s hurting their company, employees, customers, and their partners just by using their brand’s name.
The pair also added that Hailey reached out to them four years ago to buy the rights and name of the brand but they declined.
Vickers and Khatau said that while Hailey is focused on her skincare and them on their fashion, they hope that there will be no brand confusion shortly but unfortunately both brands are a part of the larger beauty market in which fashion and cosmetics overlap or collaborate.
They also added that they welcome competition but they don’t agree with competitors using their name and Hailey has said that she wants to pursue a clothing line with the same name as the brand.
Lisa T. Thompson, the brand’s lawyer calls this situation an unfortunate one. She said that they understand that Hailey wants to launch a brand that is her middle name however the law was clear that you can’t create a brand confusion just because you want to use your middle name. That Ms. Bieber s harming a minority co-owned business that the two women have painstakingly built into a global fashion brand.