Hailey Bieber is facing a fork in the “rhode” after launching her brand RHODE SKIN CARE in June 2022, named after Bieber’s legal middle name, Rhode. Less than a week after Bieber’s launch, a fashion label RHODE brought a lawsuit against Bieber alleging, inter alia, that her brand infringes their trademark.
RHODE is a small NYC fashion label started in 2014 by two entrepreneurs and advertises as a woman and minority founded brand. RHODE sells high-end clothing and accessories for women with their projected sales to reach 14.5 million this year. RHODE products have been featured in Vogue and are carried in high-end department stores. Hailey Bieber is a celebrity model with over 45 million Instagram followers and is married to singer Justin Bieber, who also promotes RHODE SKIN CARE to his 250 million Instagram followers.
RHODE argued that they have built up their brand over the years and Bieber’s fame and marketing has already caused widespread confusion amongst their customers. RHODE and RHODE SKIN CARE both target a similar consumer base. It is possible consumers interested in purchasing RHODE clothing may be misdirected to Bieber’s skincare line. While Bieber is currently focused on skin care, she has filed a trademark application to use RHODE in connection with clothing, which branches into the fashion label’s territory.
RHODE filed for a preliminary injunction to prevent Bieber from using RHODE during the duration of the lawsuit. On July 22, a New York District Court denied the preliminary injunction, clearing the “rhode” for Hailey release her documentary called “The Making of Rhode.”
In trademark disputes involving celebrity junior users, the public tends to assume and associate the celebrity with “original” ownership, which can create problems for businesses like RHODE. Nevertheless, a long “rhode” still lies ahead as RHODE does not plan to drop the lawsuit.