Kim Kardashian says she’s the subject of a “shakedown effort” in response to the accusation she’s using her celebrity status to secure the rights to a skincare line after being sued for trademark infringement by a small business owned by a Black woman.  

Last year Cyndie Lunsford, founder of a Black-owned company called Beauty Concept filed an opposition to block Kim Kardashian’s attempt to trademark the name “SKKN By Kim.” She argued that the name was too similar to her brand SKKN +, which was already on the market. Lunsford has been operating the business out of a location in Brooklyn since 2018. She has been “taking steps to expand into a bigger physical location” in New York.  

According to TMZ, the company is now suing Kim Kardashian for trademark infringement, saying her brand is confusing customers. Lawyers for Beauty Concepts state they informed her of their trademark for “SKKN+” and asked that Kim not use similar branding. They claim the company ignored their request.  

Kim Kardashian Responds

However, Michael Rhodes, lawyer for Kim Kardashian, says the lawsuit “is not what it seems.” They claim the suit is a “shakedown effort” prompted by Kim’s efforts to protect her new brand.  

The attorney continued stating that they “applaud” Ms. Lunsford for “following her dreams” as a business owner. However, “that doesn’t give her the right to wrongfully claim that we’ve done something wrong.” 

Furthermore, they say “Beauty Concepts sold no products under the SKKN+ name,” as far as they know. They added, “the business was a one-person shop offering facials from a single Brooklyn location.” 

Rhodes states they declined the request to drop the SKKN name. “Beauty Concepts then challenged Ms. Kardashian’s trademark applications at the USPTO. Unsurprisingly, the USPTO rejected Beauty Concepts’ own SKKN+ mark saying that “skkn” just means “skin.” Undaunted, Beauty Concepts then tried to make its business seem more than it was – it leased a new storefront, changed its website, etc.” 

The documents state they attempted negotiations with Beauty Concepts. However, “running a small esthetician business in Brooklyn does not give it the right to shut down a global skincare line.”  

The fight between Kim Kardashian and Beauty Concepts continues. Lawyers for Kim claim the lawsuit in an attempt to leverage a settlement in the hopes of a big payout.  

The reality TV star and business mogul has been accused of profiting from Black culture and ruining Black business in the past. Earlier this month, after launching her new brands, SKKN and SKKN BY Kim, she was blasted online. Fans claimed her business was too similar to Lori Harvey’s skincare line SKN By LH.