Hailey Bieber. [Source: ABC News]
According to court documents obtained by E! News on June 22, the 25-year-old is being sued for trademark infringement over her newly launched skincare line, Rhode, (also her middle name), of which also shares the same namesake as a fashion company formed in 2013.
In the complaint filed in New York, the fashion company’s founders, Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers—who cite their brand as being worn by stars including Beyoncé, Tracee Ellis Ross and Lupita Nyong’o—state that “there is no doubt that Ms. Bieber and her companies know of Rhode’s superior rights.”
“Indeed, [Ms. Bieber] previously sought to acquire the RHODE mark, appreciating that the brands could not co-exist without confusion,” the document notes. “Given the sacrifices they had made to build the brand, Khatau and Vickers refused. The RHODE brand is their most important asset. But Ms Bieber, who could surely leverage her fame into success with a different-branded beauty line, apparently does not care that two other women entrepreneurs have been using the RHODE brand name for years.”
In addition to the filing, the company’s co-founders shared a statement to their brand’s social media on June 21. “Nine years ago, we quit our jobs and founded Rhode out of our apartment, creating a fashion company from nothing,” their statement, shared to Instagram, read. “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 continued, “Today, we were forced to file a lawsuit against Hailey Bieber and her new skin-care 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.”
Noting that they “admire” the model and “want to celebrate her,” the statement continued, “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 skin-care line’s brand. Her using our brand is hurting our company, our employees, our customers, and our partners.”
Adding that they’re “confident in the lawsuit’s outcome,” they concluded their statement, “We hope Hailey will now understand the harm we’re sure she never meant to cause and change her skin-care line’s brand. Thank you to everyone for valuing our vision and supporting us.”
On the day of Bieber’s skincare launch, the model, wed to Justin Bieber, opened up about her personal connection to the brand’s name. “The name came from, you know, obviously it’s my middle name—it’s also my mom’s middle name,” she said during her June 15 interview with Good Morning America. “So, I wanted there to be this tie-in to family lineage. I learned so much about skincare from my mom.”
That same day, she also celebrated the launch of her line with an Instagram post, detailing the brand’s products. “We are a line of curated skincare essentials made with thoughtful intention,” the June 15 Instagram post, from both Bieber and her brand’s page, read. “We spent years working on our formulas with our skin board of dermatologists and chemists to make sure that every rhode product restores, protects and nurtures your skin.”
E! News has reached out to Bieber’s reps for comment and has not heard back.