Kardashian Sisters Face Trademark Lawsuit Over Cosmetic Line

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Kroma Makeup by Lee Tillett

Kroma Makeup by Lee Tillett

Did you know the geniuses running the Kardashian naming bureau came up with a line of beauty products called Kardashian Khroma? Only one problem with that name. There was already a line of cosmetics on the market called Kroma, developed by make-up artist Lee Tillett.  Ms. Tillet’s trademark is visible to anyone who does a search of the US Patent & Trademark database.  Didn’t someone on the Kardashian legal team do that research ? Or see the news clippings on Lee Tillett’s makeup line? Last year, Ms. Tillett sent the Kardashians’ license-holder, Boldface Licensing + Branding, a cease & desist letter over Kardashian Khroma.   Apparently that letter was ignored, and the Kardashians and Boldface did not cease and desist, but instead went forward with their marketing and advertising plans.  Now Ms. Tillet has filed a trademark lawsuit and gone to the press with her story.  Her story is generating a considerable amount of press ink including Huffington Post coverage. To me, this is a big public relations black eye for the Kardashian empire.  With all the money and power this group has as celebrity marketers and TV personalities, why use a name already established by someone else for a make-up line? And why use a name that is already a registered trademark?

Kardashian Khroma

Kardashian Khroma

“I developed the Kroma line myself, built my business through my own hard work, and took the legal steps necessary to protect it,” Tillett said in a press statement. “And yet I have now been forced into legal battle with the Kardashians simply because they have decided to take something that doesn’t belong to them.”

I empathize with Ms. Tillett.  According to her legal complaint, Lee Tillett was not “unknown” to the Kardashian’s representatives. The legal complaint alleges that representatives for the sisters talked with Tillett two years ago about the possibility of product placement for Kroma on a TV show that Kim Kardashian was producing.

I can only applaud Ms. Tillett for exercising her legal rights and seeking a remedy.  There is no trademark registration on file for Kardashian Khroma, although they have filed for trademark registration.  The world is a big place, couldn’t the Kardashian team, with all their money & resources, have come-up with another name?  They certainly could now move quickly to settle with Ms. Tillett instead of spending a fortune on lawyer fees to defend this.   What do you think readers? Would you buy Kardashian Khroma make-up after reading this?  You have to wonder why the sisters can’t just come up with a new name that begins with a K?  As one of my Twitter followers Becky DiStefano suggested, they could’ve easily have called it Kardashian Kosmetics and have left Kroma alone.


Postscript:  On March 23, 2013, the California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals federal judge issued a wide-spanning injunction against the Kardashian’s cosmetics line “Khroma”.  That means 5,321 stores in 48 states are no longer accepting the “Khroma” products for sale.  Read more about this at Spy Hollywood.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. Norma

    January 13, 2013 at 5:19 am

    I saw Kardashian’s make up in CVS pharmacy I was not impressed. Also it appears that they don’t care if it was a trademark or not. Their main focus is money.

    • Mary Hall

      January 13, 2013 at 7:02 am

      I agree Norma! I don’t understand big companies knocking off small biz, although I myself have faced the problem on The Recessionista.

  2. Target-Addict

    January 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I work for a very large software company with many products (which I’d rather not name here) but my understanding is that if we come up with a product name that someone else already “owns” – particularly if that someone is SMALL (like Ms. Tillet) – then we usually proceed with our plans and hope that either A) the other person backs down & gives up or B) we can buy out the name from them. I am assuming that’s the same thinking going on at Kamp Kardashian: that they can buyout or bulldoze Ms. Tillet into letting them use the name.

    • Mary Hall

      January 13, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Sounds more like a bulldog than a buyout–they could’ve made her a nice offer when they got the cease & desist. Or they could’ve collaborated with Ms. Tillett. Instead they came up with their own thing.