Kim Kardashian makes up to half a million dollars each time she lets her fans know how much she likes a product, like a meal replacement shake or an appetite-suppressing lollipop. And she’s not above using the law to ensure it stays that way.
Kardashian is all about the law, in fact. She’s the daughter of famed OJ Simpson attorney, the late Robert Kardashian, and studying to become a lawyer herself. Plus, Kim K has also been involved in numerous lawsuits and licensing deals over the years to protect her brand. Most recently, on May 3, the star filed an affidavit in California federal court seeking a $5 million default judgment against the fast fashion brand Missguided for alleged infringements of her trademark.
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The document provides insight into the highly lucrative business of being this particular Kardashian.
Kardashian alleges Missguided used her image and name on its website and promotions, all without a licensing deal. She says that the company is creating the false impression that she has an arrangement with Missguided—which she does not—by creating knock-offs of designer dresses she wears and using her famous name to generate sales.
Missguided’s actions, Kardashian argues, have led to widespread speculation that she’s in on this business. As evidence of this, her claim cites a February article in The Fashion Law, entitled “Kim K and the Copycats: Fast Fashion at its Quickest or a Marketing Ploy in Disguise?” which asks whether “a thinly veiled collab [is] at play between Missguided and Kim K.”
The influencer is adamant that there is no deal. And if there was, it would be quite costly for Missguided indeed. Kardashian explains in the affidavit that, “I enjoy one of the largest social media followings of any celebrity, including more than 120 million followers on Instagram and close to 60 million followers on Twitter…only a handful of people in the world have more than 100 million Instagram followers.”
Those impressive metrics allow her to command equally notable fees for her promotional work, she says. Kardashian’s affidavit states she receives up to half a million dollars just to endorse a product on Instagram:
Although it is unlikely I would ever agree to endorse Missguided specifically, I can attest to the fees that I would charge if an apparel company that I was willing to endorse used my name and image in the way that Missguided has. I commonly receive fees of $300,000 to $500,000 for just a single Instagram post endorsing another company’s product that I like … For more involved arrangements where I will partner with a company for a longer period of time, my licensing deals are multi-million dollar deals which often provide me equity in the licensee as well.
Kim K isn’t suing Missguided because she needs more money, of course. Rather, she says it’s all just for the fans. “I am very appreciative of my fans, and when I put my name on products or services, I want to be sure that the products or services are something that I can be proud of sharing,” Kardashian attests. For that reason, she says, she often turns down offers of endorsement deals. Those she accepts must be “of a quality and nature that will appeal to my fan base.”
The aspiring attorney says she works “very hard” to ensure that her brand is meaningful to fans, who view the use of her name as her ultimate stamp of approval. “[T]he more other companies use my name and image, the more it discourages companies who want exclusivity in their licensing of my rights to make deals with me,” Kardashian writes.
The judge has not yet ruled on Kardashian’s default judgment demand. But if it is granted, we can be certain—based on her stated fees—that the additional $5 million will be a mere drop in the bucket.