Hailey Bieber sued for trademark infringement after skincare line launch

Hailey Bieber is seen leaving her New York apartment on her way to Instagram Live

Brother Ordonez/SplashNews.com

Hailey Baldwin Bieber is being sued for trademark infringement by a 9-year-old fashion company that shares the name of its skincare line, Rhode – which is Bieber’s middle name.

RHODE clothing brand co-founders Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers filed a lawsuit against the model, 25, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.

In the filing, Khatau says she and Vickers started the business in May 2013 and have since been “devoted to growing and nurturing the RHODE brand through much personal sacrifice and hardship.” It is now considered a reputable brand sold in luxury stores including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and worn by celebrities like Beyonce, Rihannaand Mindy Kaling. RHODE is expected to earn $14.5 million this year, according to the lawsuit.

Khatau and Vickers own the RHODE brand for several common garments and accessories. They have also filed applications to expand to other areas such as homewares and are planning to expand into makeup and skincare, according to Khatau’s statement.

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Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber

Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber

Kevin Mazur/Getty Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber

bieber launched its Rhode skincare line earlier this month, and Khatau says she and Vickers immediately began seeing “confusion in the marketplace,” which has already hurt their brand.

The lawsuit alleges that Instagram first promised the @rhode handle to the designers as it was “dormant per Instagram policy, but after initially promising us, Instagram decided to allow Ms. Bieber to use it even though it had no post until June 8, 2022”.

The filing also notes a common Instagram Publish with Bieber’s personal account (followed by over 45 million users), which garnered over 600,000 likes at the time of posting.

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justin bieber, 28, also promoted his wife’s brand on his Instagram, where he has 243 million followers. His Publish garnered more than a million likes, the court documents note. The lawsuit adds that people also tagged Hailey’s @rhode Instagram instead of the plaintiffs’ official @shoprhode account when sharing photos of celebrities wearing their clothing line.

“We have real concerns about the future,” Khatau said in the lawsuit. “We’ve put blood, sweat and tears into this brand for years…It’s disappointing to me that an enterprising woman, who we’ve been a long-time fan of, is trying to smother what we’ve built .”

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In her own statement, Vickers notes that Hailey previously said she wanted Rhode to become a lifestyle brand, Hailey reportedly commented, “Clothes will come :)”, in response to a TikTok fan who asked her if she would release a clothing line called “Rhodes.”

Vickers and Khatau asked the court for a preliminary injunction ordering Hailey to stop using the name “rhode” for her brand, according to the documents. In a statement given to PEOPLE, the couple also ask her to change the name of her skincare line to avoid further confusion.

“The Rhode brand is everything we’ve worked hard for, and its use of our name harms our business, our employees, our customers and our partners,” they said in the statement.

The co-founders said Hailey tried to buy the rights to the name from them four years ago, but they refused.

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“Unfortunately, the fact that Hailey is currently focused on skincare while we are focused on fashion hasn’t prevented brand confusion, and it won’t be in the future,” Vickers said. and Khatau. “We are both part of a larger beauty market in which fashion and cosmetics closely overlap and often collaborate.”

“Hailey said she wanted to start a clothing line, and she even asked for ‘rhode’ as her clothing brand,” they added. “We welcome competition – we just don’t want competitors using our name.”

In a separate statement, the clothing brand’s attorney, Lisa T. Simpson, said the situation was “unfortunate”.

“We of course understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her trademark, but the law on this is clear: you can’t create that kind of trademark confusion just because you want to use your name,” he said. she stated. “What Ms. Bieber is doing is hurting a minority-owned joint venture that two women painstakingly built into a growing global brand.”

Rhode and a rep for Hailey did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Donovan B. Sanford