Baldwin, Hailey A 9-year-old fashion brand that has the same name as Bieber’s skincare line, Rhode, is suing her for trademark infringement. Rhode is Bieber’s middle name.
According to documents acquired by PEOPLE, Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers, the co-founders of the RHODE apparel company, filed the lawsuit against the 25-year-old model on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The company was founded in May 2013 by Khatau and Vickers, according to the filing, and they have “committed ourselves to growing and nurturing the RHODE brand through tremendous personal sacrifice and struggle” since then. It is currently regarded as a trustworthy brand, available in upscale retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and favored by stars like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Mindy Kaling. According to the lawsuit, RHODE is anticipated to earn $14.5 million this year.
Several popular apparel and accessory items have the RHODE trademark, which is owned by Khatau and Vickers. According to Khatau, they have also submitted applications to grow into other markets, such as home goods, and they are thinking about doing the same with cosmetics and skincare.
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Prior to the beginning of this month, when Bieber debuted her Rhode skincare line, Khatau claims that she and Vickers noticed “confusion in the marketplace,” which has already harmed their company.
As it was “dormant per Instagram regulations, after initially giving it to us, Instagram chose to allow Ms. Bieber to use it even though it had no postings until June 8, 2022,” the lawsuit claims that Instagram first promised the @rhode handle to the designers.
A shared Instagram post with Justin Bieber’s personal account, which has more than 45 million followers, is also mentioned in the complaint. At the time of the filing, the post had received more than 600,000 likes.
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The 28-year-old Justin Bieber, who has 243 million Instagram followers, has also marketed his wife’s business there. According to court filings, his post received more than 1 million likes. According to the lawsuit, while sharing pictures of famous individuals wearing the plaintiffs’ apparel brand, consumers have instead referenced Hailey’s @rhode Instagram account rather than the official @shoprhode account.
In the case, Khatau claims, “We have serious worries about the future.” “This brand has been the result of years of blood, sweat, and tears. I find it sad that a businesswoman that we have long admired is attempting to stifle what we have accomplished.”
Vickers states in her own declaration that Hailey previously expressed her desire for Rhode to develop into a lifestyle brand, with Hailey purportedly saying, “Clothes will come:),” in response to a TikTok fan who inquired as to whether she would introduce a “rhode” clothing line.
According to court filings, Vickers and Khatau requested a preliminary injunction directing Hailey to stop using the name “rhode” for her brand. The duo also request that she rename her skincare business to avoid future misunderstanding, according to a statement provided to PEOPLE.
The company stated in the statement that “the brand Rhode is all we have worked hard to create, and her utilizing our name is damaging our company, our employees, our customers, and our partners.”
The co-founders claimed Hailey tried to purchase the name’s rights from them four years ago, but they turned her down.
Hailey Bieber claims that her and Justin Bieber’s health issues have brought them “closer than ever.”
Sadly, the fact that Hailey is now concentrating on skin care while Vickers and Khatau are concentrating on fashion hasn’t prevented brand confusion and it won’t in the future, according to Vickers and Khatau. “Fashion and cosmetics closely converge here, and we frequently work together as part of a bigger beauty market.”
They said, “Hailey has stated that she wants to start a clothing line, and she has applied for the trademark “rhode” for clothing. We don’t want competitors using our name, but we do encourage competition.
The scenario is “unfortunate,” according to Lisa T. Simpson, the apparel company’s attorney, in a separate statement.
The law on this is clear: you can’t create this kind of brand confusion just because you want to use your name, she said. “We, of course, understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand,” she added. “Ms. Bieber is damaging a minority co-owned business that two women have painstakingly developed into a growing, global brand,” says the author.