Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) filed trademarks for "Kimono Body", "Kimono Intimates" and "Kimono World". She has trademarked a word of huge cultural significance in Japanese culture.
There is a petition going round to stop the trademarks from going ahead.
In my opinion registering the domain www.kimono.com is a free for all market for any investor and providing you are not confusing the public. By developing a website that sells 'Kimonos' you are not doing anything wrong.
However if you do develop a website that is selling underwear instead of kimonos and then you go one step further and try and trademark the word 'Kimono' within your trademark brand name, what this potentially does is prevents any other person using the word 'Kimono' in their marketing for the actual sale of Kimonos.
So if I decided to set up a website selling kimonos and used the domain for instance www.kimonoclothing.com (it is an already registered website - not mine before you ask) I would have Mrs K. Kardashian West on my back. It would not suprize me if she has registered it. I cannot get the data due to whois restrictions.
These trademarks are going to cause a lot of problems in the domain industry and also in Japan.
Here is a link to a newspaper articles:
I do not believe this a publicity stunt to get more followers it is the uneducated guess from her marketing company that decided to do this without researching all the implications this may cause.
However what Mrs KKW has done which she can to a certain extent is register dictionary words; Common words and phrases can be trademarked if the person or company seeking the trademark can demonstrate that the phrase has acquired a distinctive secondary meaning apart from its original meaning. That secondary meaning must be one that identifies the phrase with a particular good or service.
The argument here is more a cultural confusing appropriation row whereby people searching for kimonos will end up landing on her websites.
If I was in the Kimono business and found people searching for kimonos ending up on her website instead of mine I would be not happy.
What Kim could not do is register the actual word 'KIMONO' as her application would be rejected but she has attempted to trademark "Kimono Body", "Kimono Intimates" and "Kimono World" and if someone then set up websites/trademarks 'Kimono Clothing' or in the case of https://www.kimono-yukata-market.com/ then this company plus many others will end up having problems.
I agree with the Japanese Mayor that urged her to reconsider her applications of which she has expressed she has done nothing wrong and has not intended to offend Japanese Culture. Here is the letter the mayor wrote to her:
What she has failed to say or defend herself is that she has made applications to confuse the public and any lawyer can argue this.
By users looking for genuine Kimonos they will be lead to her websites causing confusion and loss of sales from genuine Kimono retailers.
My final words are if you are going to register a domain name and then trademark it do your due diligence first to save yourself problems further down the line.
Also people genuinely looking for kimonos that vist her site will leave just as quickly as they got there. Her bounce rate will be really high but who am I to judge considering she did not hire me and left it to her marketing team. Terrible Marketing Stratedy which tells me that marketing agencies need to learn about the power of branding and domain names. Apparantly she owns the domain name www.kimono.com
I totally agree with the Japanese Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa Mayor of Kyoto.
I believe that Mr Kadokawa can appeal the applications through: https://www.uspto.gov/ on the grounds that the trademarks will confuse the public and anyone looking to buy Kimonos will be lead to Mrs Kardashian West Websites which will cause losses to the Kimono Sales Industry.
This is similar to a case that was held in 1994 between Adidas America Inc & Payless Shoessource Inc whereby the argument was over the quanity of the stripes. You can read the article here: https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Intellectual-Property/USA/Kenyon-Kenyon-LLP/Jury-Award-Reduced-Drastically-in-Adidas-Case
Adidas was awarded $65 Million in damages.
I believe Japan can do the same and seek the following:
*Actual damages if the applications go ahead
*Lost profits to Japan and the Kimono Sales Industry
*Punitive damages for confusion of online traffic.
This would put a massive dent in KKW pocket if that happened and would teach other people thinking of doing the same to think twice.
It will be interesting what happens.
If you agree please sign and share the petition:
Until next time wishing you all a Happy Sunday.
Change.org notified me by email that Kim Kardashian is planning to rebrand herself and is no longer doing to pursue the words 'Kimono' in an Instagram post today.
A small victory for Japan, without an apology, basically says it all.