Battle of the “MK” Trademark

In trademark infringement news, there is a little fuss over which renowned retailer may use the symbol “MK” to adorn its cosmetics line- Mary Kay or Michael Kors. A Dallas court is currently set to hear why Mary Kay is seeking an injunction for contractual damages for breach against Micheal Kors; and why Michael Kors is countersuing Mary Kay for trademark infringement for his limited edition cosmetics line.

Mary Kay is one of the worlds leading direct selling cosmetic brands while Michael Kors is well known for his retail fashion and accessories. To some surprise, the two beauty and fashion powerhouses have some static history in the past. Starting in 2005, the parties settled a dispute over Kors’ use of various “MK” marks that he tried to register for competing products. Then in 2001, Kors asked Mary Kay twice if he could modify the agreement to allow him to register the “MK Charm Logo” mark but Mary Kay refused.

Now, per the May 12, 2012 complaint, Mary Kay alleges “notwithstanding the restrictive covenants of the coexistence agreement and Mary’s Kay’s opposition, Michael Kors filed two unauthorized applications for trademark registration without providing notice to Mary Kay.”  Also, Mary Kay did not discover the existence of the charm logo filings until late November 2012.”   Kors’ first filing with the USPTO includes the letters “MK” with a circle around the letters while the second is the same but with the words “Micheal Kors” (spelled out) on the bottom border of the circle.

In reference to the first trademark filing, Mary Kay also claims that the agreement in place prohibits Kors from using “MK” standing alone, or in close proximity to “Michael Kors,” or in connection with “any products whatsoever” for cosmetics products or services.

The alleged infringing cosmetic line by Michael Kors is a joint marketing limited-edition cosmetics gift package with Estee Lauder, who is a nonparty in this matter.

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