Trouble is looming over selfie phone cases. Kim Kardashian’s company Kimsaprincess is being sued for $100 million for alleged patent infringement related to her endorsement of LuMee phone cases, Us Weekly can confirm.
The 36-year-old reality star is frequently seen using the smartphone case, which features a built-in light to create perfect selfie lighting, on social media and on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
According to documents obtained by Us, Hooshmand Harooni and SnapLight filed the lawsuit against Kardashian’s company and retailer Urban Outfitters on Monday, July 31, in the United States District Court in the Central District of California. The document claim that Harooni obtained a patent in 2013 for an “integrated lighting accessory and case for a mobile phone device,” and licensed it exclusively to a company called SnapLight LLC.
The documents allege that Kardashian’s use of the competing phone case has caused SnapLight to lose profits. “Simply being endorsed by an influencer like Ms. West leads to numerous sales regardless of whether or not the endorsed product infringes the intellectual property rights of others,” the documents claim. “Much of her influential empire has been built through selfies and infringing selfie cases. Based on Ms. West’s endorsement and social influence, LuMee distributors such as Urban Outfitters have benefitted financially through increased sales of the LuMee selfie cases. And Ms. West’s endorsement is not a shill; she is also an ‘official’ partner with LuMee and has designed cases for LuMee."
Snaplight and Harooni are asking the court to prevent Kardashian from further promoting LuMee cases and award $100 million in damages.
A spokesperson for the Kardashians told Page Six, “The patent lawsuit filed by SnapLight has no merit and is just an other attempted shakedown. Kim has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
A LuMee spokesperson defended Kardashian and claimed the lawsuit has "no merit" in a statement to Us Weekly. “LuMee was disappointed to learn about the lawsuit filed against Kim Kardashian West by SnapLight, LLC, alleging patent infringement with regard to her involvement with LuMee," the statement read. "The lawsuit has no merit and Kim has done nothing wrong. LuMee is an innovator of illuminated cell phone cases and was the first to market. Between its patents, copyrights and trademarks, LuMee has developed substantial intellectual property rights surrounding its product line. LuMee is currently asserting patent infringement against SnapLight in the District of Delaware."
SnapLight’s attorney, Trevor Q. Coddington, also released a statement to Us Weekly. "We brought this case to recognize the true inventor and innovator, Mr. Harooni, and the company that invested in him and his technology, SnapLight," he said in the statement. "Ms. West was targeted because she is the best known user/endorser of the infringing cases and happens to also be a ‘partner' with LuMee. Urban Outfitters was targeted because it is one of the largest distributors of the infringing cases. LuMee and Ms. West are unfairly reaping the benefits of technology that was patented by Mr. Harooni. SnapLight is confident that it will prevail in vindicating its rights in the Harooni patent. The lawsuit is not a ‘shakedown' as contended by Ms. West."
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