How Kim Kardashian's YouTube 'Office Tour' Video Landed Her In A Lawsuit


Kim Kardashian was among the parties named in a new lawsuit filed last week in the Central District Court of California by the Judd Foundation. The Foundation brought a suit against Clements Design, a celebrity-favorite interior designer in West Hollywood, bringing claims for trademark and copyright infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition. Individually, Kardashian was waged with a claim for false endorsement. The lawsuit stems from what the Foundation claims is the advertising and promotion of knock-off Donald Judd furniture that was created by Clements Design for Ms. Kardashian.

The Judd Foundation acts to preserve the famous works of the late Donald Judd, who was an American artist that was best known for his minimalist sculptural designs which were primarily created in woodcut. Among one of his famous pieces is a table and chair furniture set, namely the Donald Judd La Mansana table and Donald Judd Chair 84. The Foundation accuses Clements Design of designing and selling to Kardashian a fake version of the set which is now displayed in the office of her skincare brand SKNN BY KIM.

On August 11, 2022, Kardashian posted to YouTube, in which she gives a guided tour of the new offices for her makeup company, Skkn by Kim. The suit alleges that the video has received over 3.7 million views on Youtube. During the video, the camera pans to the accused furniture. “These Donald Judd tables are really amazing and totally blend in with the seats,” Kardashian states, as she pulls out a chair to show the design.

Source: Complaint

The Foundation contends that this is no mere coincidence. Filed with the complaint was a copy of the invoice for the accused pieces from Clements Design to Kardashian, which describes the furniture as “in the style of Donald Judd.” Further, the invoice includes a photograph of an original Donald Judd table and chair set that was taken in connection with the 2018 Donald Judd Exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Therefore, the Foundation claims that both Clements Design and Kardashian respectively sold and promoted the furniture as authentic “even when she knew that it was not genuine.”

To succeed on the trade dress claims against Clements Design, the Foundation will have to show that they have a protectable trademark and trade dress rights in the Donald Judd table and chair designs, that the designs are not functional, and that Clements Design used the mark and corresponding design in a way that is likely to cause confusion as to the original source. To succeed on the claim for false endorsement against Kardashian, they will have to show that she made a false statement in claiming that the furniture was authentic Donald Judd, and did so to give the impression that she and her brand were connected, affiliated, associated with, or otherwise endorsed by Mr. Judd. Judd Foundation will also have to show how, specifically, they have been damaged by Clements Design and Kardashian.

Clements Design and Kim Kardashian have not yet responded to the claims. Whether Kardashian actually knew the furniture was not authentic is still a question to be answered, and so is whether the nature of her statements would render her liable for damages under the Lanham Act; considering that her promotion of the late artist may very well have had more of a positive effect on the Judd name than a negative one.

Sofia Quezada Hastings focuses her practice on business litigation and intellectual property law matters. She counsels clients with respect to the protection and enforcement of their trademarks and copyrights. She has a particular concentration in trademark prosecution, and also is involved in trademark and copyright litigation matters. Her background in this area involves bringing anti-counterfeiting actions against mass-scale trademark and copyright infringers who import counterfeit goods into the U.S. 

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