Fearing Brand Konfusion, Two Makeup Companies Are Battling The Kardashian Empire

It seems whenever we hear about the Kardashian family at Consumerist HQ, somebody is mad at the sisters three not because of their reality TV empire or their somewhat mystifying celebrity, but because of their business dealings. In this most recent round of “What have the Kardashians done now?” two makeup companies are miffed that the sisters have chosen a name for their new beauty line that’s awfully similar to the unrelated brands.

The word “chroma” and its various iterations means “color” in Greek, points out CNNMoney, so it makes sense that the Kardashians’ line is called Khroma. But not if you happen to have products for sale under a similar name, say the owners, who don’t want their products sullied by any association with the Kardashian family.

See, the owners of the companies don’t want anyone to confuse the brands or have their clients leave if the brands lose their exclusive status.

The co-owner of a makeup studio in Beverly Hills that bears a name close to Khroma says he fears the far-reaching arms of the Kardashian empire.

“It kills any possibility of ever going into a department store,”he said. “The global reach of the Kardashians and their ability to flood the market took the name. Our [name] is lost. Anytime a client mentions [our brand], they’ll say, ‘Kardashian Khroma?'”

Instead of renaming their business of 12 years, the owners of the makeup studio are suing the Kardashians’ licensing company, claiming trademark infringement.

The other business is run by a makeup artist in Florida who has her own brand of cosmetics with another similar name, using special “all-natural botanical” formulas since 2004. She says any confusion with the Kardashians’ line “could be potentially catastrophic” for her business.

She even applied to register her brand’s name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and was granted a trademark last year. In fact, when the Kardashians attempted to trademark Khroma last year, officials refused them because of a “likelihood of confusion” with the makeup artist’s brand. Not that that seems to matter now.

“I had taken all the proper steps and legally registered the Kroma name,” the woman said. “I was shocked that after all that, someone would just try to grab it away from me.”

Now the Kardashians’ licensing company is suing the makeup artist’s company to get a judge to sign off on letting the famous family use the name Khroma. All three companies are currently duking it out in federal court.

A spokeswoman for the licensing company stated: “We do not believe that there is any likelihood of confusion between Khroma Beauty… and any other entity.”

Despite the ongoing legal battles, the Kardashian line is already marching through CVS, K-Mart, Sears and Ulta stores so legions of fans can get Kim’s “legendary nude lip” or extend their lashes to Kardashian lengths with $9.99 mascara.

Kardashian sisters face off with small makeup shops over a name [CNNMoney]