Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is suing Old Navy for $20 million dollars in the hope of preventing brands from using celebrity look-alikes to falsely imply celebrity endorsement.
In February, the store released a commercial titled “Super C-U-T-E”, with a smiling, dark-haired model said to resemble Kardashian. The law suit states that Old Navy is still using some of the promotions today.
Kardashian, 30, has become a household name with her work as a television personality, model, and actress. “I’ve worked hard to support the products I’m personally involved with and that I believe in,” Kardashian says in a public statement.
Gary Hecker, Kardashian’s intellectual property attorney, added to the statement, “Kim Kardashian is immediately recognizable, and is known for her look and style.”
In the statement, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Hecker continues, “Her identity and persona are valuable. When her intellectual property rights are violated, she intends to enforce them.”
Previously celebrities such as Better Midler and Vanna White, as well as former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, have sued brands for using advertisements displaying imitations of their iconic identities.
Onassis won an injunction to stop Christian Dior using a look-alike model, as did Midler who sued Ford Motors to stop it using an imitation voice similar to hers in its commercial. Vanna White’s case against Samsung Electronics was more complicated, but she was granted partial victory.
It is not yet determined whether the Old Navy advertisement implies a connection to Kardashian or not, or if the retail chain intended to imitate the star.
The dark-haired model in the ad, Melissa Molinaro, is not named in the lawsuit. She took to Twitter about her opinion of the case though, stating: “We’re still talking about this,” noting that the ad ran five months ago. “Some people have too much time on (their) hands.”
Molinaro, who is widely perceived as resembling Kardashian, is now linked to the star in a new way. Recent reports say Molinaro is romantically involved with Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints player and Kardashian’s ex-boyfriend.