Kim Kardashian, Patent Infringer by Endorsement?


Kim Kardashian

Film, music and sports stars could be in a lot of trouble if Kim Kardashian has to face a patent infringement complaint filed July 31. 

Snap Light LLC, owner of a patent on a mobile phone case that provides LED lighting for improved selfie-taking, wants $100 million in royalty payments from Mrs. Kanye West and Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters sells the allegedly infringing LuMee case. Kardashian’s infringement? She endorses it. 

Fortunately for Kardashian and unfortunately for Snap Light, the Patent Act defines an infringer as one who “makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention.” Endorsement is nowhere on the list. 

Snap Light, of course, didn’t put all its eggs in the endorsement basket. It accuses Kardashian of using the infringing LuMee case because you can see her doing so in the endorsement. Maybe not $100 million worth, but yes, she “uses” it. 

Snap Light also charged infringement by 10 “Doe” defendants to be named later. Perhaps it means to go after the teens also featured on the LuMee website. Or maybe it is hoping to identify other celebrities holding the cases on the site. One looks a little like Gisele Bundchen (then again, maybe not). 

Never say never, but Kim and Gisele (and her husband Tom Brady endorsing Uggs) can probably rest easy. 

Kardashian has been dragged into an ongoing battle between the case makers. LuMee LLC fired the first shot when it sued Snap Light last November for infringing LuMee’s similar patent. LuMee also sued Case-Mate Inc., Ty-Lite LLC, and Slip to Grip LLC for patent infringement, according to Bloomberg Law. The last two settled.