Within days of launching, Hailey Bieber’s new skincare line has caused controversy – with the model accused of causing “irreparable harm” to another brand.
Hailey Bieber’s new skincare line has landed in hot water.
Within days of launching on June 15, the model’s brand – called Rhode, after her middle name – is being sued for trademark infringement by an LA-based clothing label of the same name that was founded in 2014.
In a statement to Page Sixthe latter Rhode’s legal team claims the 25-year-old tried to acquire the trademark from designers Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers in 2018.
When they refused, Bieber allegedly went forward with launching her own Rhode brand anyway.
“She did this despite knowing of Rhode and its prior rights,” lead litigation counsel to the clothing brand, Lisa T Simpson, said in an email.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance. We, of course, understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand, but the law on this is clear: You can’t create this kind of brand confusion just because you want to use your name.
“What Ms Bieber is doing is harming a minority co-owned business that two women have painstakingly built into a growing, global brand.”
In a separate statement posted to the label’s Instagram, Ms Khatau and Ms Vickers wrote that they created their “fashion company from nothing”.
“We’re two women entrepreneurs who met in college, built the Rhode brand, and put years of hard work into our minority co-owned company,” they said.
“Today, we [were] Forced to file a lawsuit against Hailey Bieber and her new skincare line that launched last week and that is using the brand ‘Rhode’. We didn’t want to file this lawsuit, but we had to in order to protect our business.”
The pair went on to add that they “admire” Bieber, and that “she has worked hard and earned the ability to create her own skincare line”.
“We don’t want to sue Hailey; we want to celebrate her. As fellow women entrepreneurs, we wish her every success,” they said.
“Hailey could choose any brand for her skincare line. We have only the brand name ‘Rhode’ that we’ve built. That’s why we didn’t sell her our brand when she asked four years ago, and why we ask her now to change her skincare line’s brand. Her using our brand is hurting our company, our employees, our customers and our partners.
“We’re confident in the lawsuit’s outcome, but we hope Hailey will now understand the harm we’re sure she never meant skincare to cause and change her line’s brand. Thank you to everyone for valuing our vision and supporting us.”
The lawsuit states “the magnitude of Bieber’s following and the virality of her marketing will cause immediate, ongoing and irreparable harm to the Rhode brand”.
Ms Khatau and Ms Vickers have asked the court to block the model from using the Rhode name to avoid any confusion between their brands.
Both Bieber and her brand are yet to comment on the legal suit.
She told Forbes last week that when the pandemic hit, “it opened up this space in this time for me to pursue something in skincare, which is something I had wanted to do for a long time”.
“Since I was a teenager, I’ve always been very routine and regimented with skincare. I love the beauty space in general – hair care, body care, makeup – but I’ve always been drawn toward skincare because the base of everything, the base of great makeup, starts with glowing from the inside out and healthy skin,” she said.
“I always wanted to start my own brand in general; I chose to go with skincare first because I reached a point where I had been modeling for a long time.”