By Saibra Noel
On January 5, 2018, Vlada Haggerty filed suit in the United States District Court of the Central District of California against Makeup Forever, LLC (hereinafter “MUFE”) alleging trademark infringement for the lip art MUFE used for their “Lustrous” makeup collection.
Vlada Haggerty is a makeup artist and lip art extraordinaire who gained recognition in the beauty industry from sharing her unique makeup art on Instagram. Ms. Haggerty specializes in providing phenomenal makeup application services, photography services, and creating innovative makeup looks. She is most known for her iconic dripping rose gold lip art which she now uses as a trademark for her corporation, VLADAMUA, LLC. Ms. Haggerty’s dripping rose gold lip art was officially registered with the USPTO on September 26, 2017 with the first use in commerce listed as May 12, 2015. In Mid-September 2017, MUFE launched their “Lustrous” makeup collection featuring dripping lip art in the color rose gold on the packaging. Although the images are not identical, they are similar enough for Ms. Haggerty to bring this action against MUFE.
The complaint filed on behalf of Ms. Haggerty has a strong argument for proving MUFE had actual knowledge of Ms. Haggerty’s trademark and that there is a strong likelihood of confusion. Regarding actual knowledge, MUFE reached out to Ms. Haggerty in September of 2016 and in January of 2017 to ask her if she would like to collaborate with them on a collection they planned to launch in 2017. In these emails, MUFE expressed great admiration for Ms. Haggerty’s work and stated they had been following Ms. Haggerty’s page for some time. This information precludes MUFE from claiming they did not have actual knowledge of Ms. Haggerty’s iconic rose gold lip art. Regarding likelihood of confusion, the complaint illustrates the likelihood of confusion through consumer comments on instagram. There are several instances where consumers have asked Ms. Haggerty if she collaborated with MUFE to create their “Lustrous” collection. This shows that consumers are in fact confused about the source of the products and believe Ms. Haggerty was involved with the MUFE collection.
I am interested in seeing how this case will play out. Ms. Haggerty is an independent, instagram makeup artist and I am excited to see her taking on such a major corporation to defend her intellectual property rights. There are many corporations who scour social media feeds for ideas to make their marketing campaigns without crediting or getting permission from the artists they rip off. A victory for Vlada Haggerty is a victory for all makeup artists, and creatives in general, who have been victimized by large corporations.
The complaint can be viewed at: https://smcarthurlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MUFE-Complaint-Exhbits_.pdf
Vlada’s trademark is pictured on the left. MUFE “Lustrous” logo is pictured on the right.