The Southern District of NY Catches Bieber Fever and Denies Injunction


Hailey Bieber recently founded her own line of skincare products under the trade name Rhode, which is her middle name. Unfortunately, her latest venture was not warmly received by everyone. The founders of the fashion line RHODE almost immediately filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Mrs. Bieber in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In short, the fashion brand contends that Mrs. Bieber’s use of Rhode in connection with skin care products is likely to create consumer confusion, despite the fact that their federal trademark registration does not include skin care products. To that end, the fashion brand claims it has common-law trademark rights concerning such goods.

The parties had their first litigation skirmish after the action was filed when the fashion line sought to enjoin Mrs. Bieber from utilizing Rhode in connection with a documentary that she eventually released on YouTube concerning her creation of the brand. The fashion line submitted an emergency filing to the Southern District and requested that the Court enjoin Mrs. Bieber’s release of the documentary, which the fashion line claimed would irreparably harm the company since there would be no way to undo millions of people seeing the documentary and associating the mark with Hailey Bieber thereafter.

In response to the emergency filing, the Court held a conference the same day and accepted a copy of the documentary from Mrs. Bieber for review. After reviewing the video, the Court declined to act and permitted the documentary to be released. The Court’s one-page order was not informative and simply stated that the motion was denied for “reasons stated at the conference.” This represented a significant blow to the fashion line, but the case is far from over. Just because the Court refused to grant emergency injunctive relief, it does not mean that the Court will find in Mrs. Bieber’s favor at trial. We’ll have to see how this case develops, but as usual, I suspect it will settle with undisclosed terms.

 



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