July 24, 2018

Bad Vibes in Kim Kardashian West Trademark Row

By Bryan K. Wheelock, Principal

A mobile marketing company has sued Kim Kardashian West’s fragrance company, KKW Fragrance, LLC, in Chicago, claiming the celebrity’s VIBES line of perfume (left, below) infringes the company’s registered VIBES trademark and logo (right, below).

The marks are similar in both literal elements and display. There are 500 registrations on marks including the word “vibes” and 2532 registrations on marks containing thought or speech balloons, but plaintiff’s is the only one that contains both of these elements.

One wonders, however, if plaintiff can make the case that consumers of perfume are likely to be confused by a mobile media company, or vice versa. The Complaint references the use of mobile marketing to promote KKW’s fragrance, but is that enough to cause consumers to believe that the two businesses are in any way related?

If KKW was going to have a problem, one might have thought it would come from an owner of one of the 11 existing registration on VIBES for perfume, rather than a similarly named mobile marketing company.