Hailey Bieber Sued for Trademark Infringement After Launching Skincare Line

RHODE, a 9-year-old fashion company, filed a lawsuit against Hailey Bieber for trademark infringement after the model debuted a skincare line with the same name, which is also her middle name

Hailey Bieber is seen leaving her New York City apartment on her way to Instagram Live
Photo: Elder Ordonez/SplashNews.com

Hailey Baldwin Bieber is being sued for trademark infringement by a 9-year-old fashion company that shares the name of her skincare line, Rhode – which is Bieber's middle name.

RHODE clothing brand cofounders Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers filed the suit against the model, 25, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.

In the filing, Khatau says she and Vickers launched the company in May 2013 and have since "dedicated ourselves to growing and nurturing the RHODE brand through much personal sacrifice and hardship." It is now considered a reputable brand sold in luxury stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and worn by celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Mindy Kaling. RHODE is expected to make $14.5 million this year, the lawsuit states.

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Khatau and Vickers own the RHODE trademark for several common clothing items and accessories. They've also filed applications to expand to other areas like household items and are considering expanding to makeup and skincare, per Khatau's declaration.

Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber
Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber. Kevin Mazur/Getty

Bieber launched her Rhode skincare line earlier this month, and Khatau says she and Vickers immediately began to see "confusion in the marketplace," which has already hurt their brand.

The lawsuit alleges that Instagram first promised the @rhode handle to the designers since it was "dormant per Instagram policy, but after initially promising it to us, Instagram decided to allow Ms. Bieber to use it even though it had no posts until June 8, 2022."

The filing also notes a joint Instagram post with Bieber's personal account (followed by more than 45 million users), which garnered more than 600,000 likes at the time of the filing.

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Justin Bieber, 28, has also promoted his wife's brand on his Instagram, where he has 243 million followers. His post garnered more than 1 million likes, court documents note. The lawsuit adds that people have also tagged Hailey's @rhode Instagram instead of the plaintiffs' official @shoprhode account when sharing photos of celebrities wearing their clothing line.

"We have real concerns about the future," Khatau says in the lawsuit. "We put blood, sweat, and tears into this brand for years ... It is disappointing to me that an entrepreneurial woman, whom we've long been fans of, is trying to stifle what we have built."

In her own declaration, Vickers notes that Hailey previously said she wanted Rhode to become a lifestyle brand, with Hailey allegedly commenting, "Clothes will come :)," in response to a TikTok fan who asked if she would release a clothing line called "rhode."

Vickers and Khatau asked the court for a preliminary injunction ordering Hailey to stop using the name "rhode" for her brand, per documents. In a statement given to PEOPLE, the pair also ask for her to change the name of her skincare line to prevent further confusion.

"The brand Rhode is everything we have worked hard to achieve, and her using our name is hurting our company, our employees, our customers, and our partners," they said in the statement.

The co-founders said Hailey attempted to buy the rights to the name from them four years ago, but they declined.

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"Unfortunately, that Hailey is currently focusing on skin care while we focus on fashion has not been preventing brand confusion, and it won't in the future," said Vickers and Khatau. "We're both part of a larger beauty market in which fashion and cosmetics closely overlap and often collaborate."

"Hailey has stated that she wants to pursue a clothing line, and she even applied for 'rhode' as a trademark for clothing," they added. "We welcome competition – we just don't want competitors using our name."

In a separate statement, the clothing brand's lawyer, Lisa T. Simpson, said that the situation is "unfortunate."

"We, of course, understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand, but 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. "What Ms. Bieber is doing is harming a minority co-owned business that two women have painstakingly built into a growing, global brand."

Rhode and a representative for Hailey did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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