It’s a battle of the pizza boys.
Kendall Jenner and her DJ friend Daniel Chetrit are being accused of stealing the idea for their new Beats 1 radio show Pizza Boys from Robert Karageuzian’s Los Angeles brand and worldwide art collective, Pizzaboyzzz.
Karageuzian’s lawyer, Sam P. Israel, sent a cease-and-desist letter to representatives for Jenner, Chetrit and Apple Inc. on April 16 demanding that they stop using the Pizza Boys name as he claims it infringes on their unregistered trademark, and now he’s threatening a lawsuit.
“Unless they stop doing what they’re doing, we’re going to file a suit next week and enjoin them from using our client’s trademark,” Israel, a managing partner at Sam P. Israel, P.C., tells PEOPLE. “It’s clear cut. They took the mark, they liked it, they went with it [and] they didn’t even contact us to try to get permission or anything. Just used it and then started a radio show talking about how great it is.”
In the letter, Karageuzian’s lawyer says that he has held the Pizzaboyzzz trademark since at least as early as February 19, 2015. He claims that Jenner and Chetrit’s use of Pizza Boys not only goes against his rights in the mark, but it has already caused “an extraordinary number of consumers” to “suddenly come to express confusion” over whether the two brands are in some way connected.
“Even if they were to change the name slightly, the fact of the matter is they’re deliberately targeting our client base, our audience, because they’re trying to pretend in effect that they are Pizzaboyzzz,” Israel says. “They just are acting as if they are our client. It’s almost like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They just stepped in and became the Pizzaboyzzz.”
He alleges: “There were all these people who were confused, who were actually upset with my client thinking that they had somehow morphed into the Jenner generation.”
Representatives for Jenner, 22, and Apple did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Pizza Boys was launched on Apple Music on April 13 during Coachella weekend and is described as a “living room pizza party” hosted by Jenner, Chetrit and their friends. During the annual festival, Pizza Boys apparel was sold.
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Israel says he will not have to prove whether Jenner and Chetrit had any prior knowledge of Pizzaboyzzz, which has amassed a following of over 47k on Instagram, but that his client was using it before them in interstate commerce.
“[Chetrit] filed a trademark application for entertainment and apparel which we’re going to oppose this week,” he says. “All that matters is that we were prior users.”
Since Pizzaboyzzz alleges use of its unregistered trademark in commerce since 2015, purportedly prior to the first date of Pizza Boys use, it may seek to rely on its common law rights in an effort to prevent Pizza Boys from using the mark. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark.
The USPTO recommends parties search federal registrations, state registrations and “common law” unregistered trademarks before filing a trademark application.
“If you look at my client’s presence on the internet, it’s not like it’s this hidden thing,” Israel says. “If they did even a modest amount of due diligence, they would have seen that this mark has been actively used by somebody — by a bunch of people, really, under my client’s control. They would have known that they can’t use the mark. They didn’t bother, or knew about it and didn’t care.”
In February 2017, Jenner explained to PEOPLE described Pizza Boys is “the DJ/friend group I’m part of” — prior to the creation of the radio show or any of its related merchandise.