Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Skin can continue brand promotion amid trademark fiasco

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 25-Jul-2022

Fashion label Rhode-NYC originally filed the lawsuit against Beieber in June for allegedly infringing upon the fashion label's trademark for 'Rhode'

Hailey Bieber’s skin care brand can continue promoting its products after a preliminary injunction against the celebrity was denied in court.

The motion was brought by fashion label Rhode-NYC in light of an upcoming documentary about Rhode Skin Care by Bieber.

Rhode-NYC, who is suing Bieber over trademark infringement, said the film is likely to be seen by "tens or hundreds of millions of people", Law360 reports.

The clothing company filed the emergency letter on 22 July to the court over concerns that this would further solidify the model’s presence in the market.

US District Judge Lorna G Schofield, however, denied the injunction.

Founded by Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers in 2013, Rhode-NYC originally filed the lawsuit against Bieber in June for allegedly infringing upon the fashion label's trademark for 'Rhode'.

Khatau and Vickers argued that Bieber attempted to purchase the 'Rhode' trademark from them in 2018.

After the fashion entrepreneurs declined the deal, Bieber continued to seek registration for the name for clothing and eventually cosmetics.

The action, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, also accuses the 25-year-old of using her social media clout, including a 45 million follower-strong Instagram platform, to "squash a woman and minority co-founded brand that simply cannot compete with her immense fame and following".

Rhode, the fashion house, has 193,000 Instagram followers.

Meanwhile, Rhode Skin garnered more than 200,000 before posting a single image on the social media platform.

The American ready-to-wear label claimed that Bieber's Rhode, which is the model's middle name, will confuse consumers.

It added that Rhode Skin's affordable positioning will negatively impact the prestige branding of the plaintiff.

Commenting on the case, Simon Barker, Partner & Head of Intellectual Property at law firm Freeths, told Cosmetics Business: "It is not uncommon for there to be clashes between identical or similar trademarks in identical or similar fields.

"Trademarks afford their owners the opportunity to try and control third party use like this. Often it is about who has the better rights.

"That is why new brands should always check if there are other brands with similar names out there before they use them.

"It remains to be seen whether the parties here can find a way to coexist or whether they fight it out.”

Trademark chaos

Rhode-NYC’s lawsuit came less than a week after Bieber launched Rhode Skin Care in June 2022.

Fans quickly jumped at the release, with Bieber’s Peptide Glazing Fluid selling out on the first day.

But the fashion company wasn’t the only brand to be affected by Bieber’s brand name and launch.

Confused fans of the influencer left small beauty business Rhodes Skincare thousands of pounds out of pocket after mistaking the name.

Eager consumers wrongly purchased products from the UK indie brand, which was launched in 2004 by 75-year-old entrepreneur Annabel Rhodes and her sister Penny.

Rhodes Skincare is a natural beauty brand that specialises in plant cell technology.

Within minutes of Bieber’s website going live, Cosmetics Business learned that Rhodes Skincare was hit by a flurry of mass orders, including nine large orders with a value of more than £2,000.

This was shortly followed by cancellation emails as customers realised they had mixed up the two brands.

Rhodes said this significantly affected the business as its previous policy meant it paid a percentage of the refund cost.

Annabel Rhodes said the company had to shut down shipping to the US over two days as it revised its returns policy to protect the business.

Visitors to the site also leapt by 94% to over 10,000 on the same day Bieber’s brand launched, settling to around 1,000 in the following days.

“You can imagine the emails and calls we were getting as a result of this,” said Rhodes, at the time.

“We have really struggled to cope.”

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