A week after the release of her highly anticipated Rhode beauty brand, Hailey Bieber is being sued by L.A. fashion label Rhode over potential trademark infringement.
In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, the label founded in 2014 by Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers and carried by luxury retailers including Net-a-Porter, Matchesfashion, and Neiman Marcus, alleges that the model and influencer, whose middle name is Rhode, and two of her companies, have created market confusion by marketing a skin care line using the same name. The case calls for the court to protect the Rhode trademark and block Ms. Bieber’s use of the brand “Rhode” name.
Bieber’s counsel attempted to buy the fashion company’s trademark registration in 2018, but after the co-founders declined to sell, Bieber continued to seek registration on the name and launched her brand, according to a legal statement seen by Vogue Business. The suit warns that customers were likely to confuse the two brands and that court intervention was necessary because of “the magnitude of Bieber’s following and the virality of her marketing will cause immediate, ongoing and irreparable harm to the Rhode brand.” Calls and emails to a representative for Bieber’s Rhode brand did not immediately return requests for comment to Vogue Business, nor via direct messages on Instagram.
Hailey Bieber, married to Justin Bieber, is a celebrity with over 45 million followers on Instagram, another 9.2 million on TikTok, and a circle of A-list friends including fellow beauty entrepreneur Kylie Jenner. She has leveraged social media to promote her brand, with a single post promoting the beauty brand by Justin Bieber garnering over 1.5 million likes. Already, some consumers on Instagram have been tagging the wrong Rhode in photos.
“We didn’t want to file this lawsuit, but we had to in order to protect our business. While a global brand, we are still a young and growing company, and we cannot overcome a celebrity with Hailey’s following using our company’s name to sell related products,” said Khatau and Vickers in a joint statement. “We welcome competition — we just don’t want competitors using our name.” Sales of the Rhode fashion brand are projected to hit $14.5 million this year, the lawsuit states.