Vlada Haggerty Sues Makeup Forever and Louis Vuitton for Copying Her Lip art
Ms. Vlada Haggerty is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist and photographer who has gained worldwide acclaim for her lip art and photography. Vlada has over 800,000 devoted Instagram followers and has been featured by such clients as Disney Style, Pat McGrath Labs, Cover Girl, Smashbox Cosmetics, NYX Cosmetics, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue, Tarte Cosmetics, Black Moon Cosmetics, Jeffree Starr Cosmetics, and Tattoo Junkie Cosmetics.
In 2015, Vlada created two distinctive “dripping lip” makeup looks that she published to her Instagram, “Liquid Gold” and “Rose Gold Lip Art” shown below.
Rose Gold Lip Art:
“Liquid Gold” and “Rose Gold Lip Art” quickly became popular on Instagram and throughout the beauty and fashion industry. Since May 2015, numerous publications have featured stories on these unique works of lip art and how Vlada created a new “drenched” or “dripping” lip look.
As the complaint alleges, over the past year, Make Up For Ever (“MUFE”) has sent multiple written requests to Vlada to use her lip art to promote MUFE’s cosmetics.
For example, on September 20, 2016, MUFE’s Brand Marketing team emailed Vlada, asking if she was “open to the possibility of a collaboration for 2017.” In that email, a MUFE employee also told Vlada, “I am huge fan – your creations are so inspiring and beautiful! I’ve been following your Instagram for quite some time now and your passion for artistry and lips really comes through your work. Your aesthetic and attention to detail is incredible.” (Exhibit 1).
Vlada emailed MUFE a response on September 20, 2016, in which Vlada declined to collaborate with MUFE on her signature dripping-lips look since Vlada was already under an exclusive contract with a competing cosmetics company. MUFE followed up with a phone call to Vlada on September 28, 2016 to further discuss the possibility of using Vlada’s lip art to promote MUFE’s cosmetics, but Vlada once again declined this opportunity.
A few months later, on January 5, 2017, Vlada was contacted by Buzzfeed and asked whether Vlada could create lip art for a series of videos promoting MUFE’s cosmetics. The Buzzfeed representative stated that MUFE specifically requested a collaboration with Vlada because she is “the lip pro.” Vlada declined this request. (Exhibit 2).
After Vlada declined MUFE’s requests, MUFE went ahead and adopted an unauthorized logo for its new line of “Lustrous” cosmetics that directly copied Vlada’s trademarked and copyrighted lip art. The MUFE Lustrous logo is so similar to Vlada’s work that it gives consumers the false impression that Vlada is collaborating with MUFE when she is not.
The striking similarities between MUFE’s new rose gold dripping lips logo and Vlada’s works of lip art are undeniable. As demonstrated by the photos shown below, MUFE simply combined two of Vlada’s most famous images. The infringing MUFE logo includes the exact same placement of drips as Vlada’s copyrighted “Liquid Gold.”
MUFE’s Lustrous Logo even features the same highlights and distinctive texture of “Liquid Gold.” It appears that MUFE took Vlada’s “Liquid Gold” photo and used it as a model to create MUFE’s Lustrous Logo, as demonstrated by the side-by-side comparison shown below. The red circles in the comparison below show examples of how MUFE’s Lustrous Logo and Vlada’s Liquid Gold share identical textures and highlighting, indicating that the MUFE’s Lustrous Logo is actually an edited copy of Vlada’s Liquid Gold photograph:
Since MUFE began using its infringing Lustrous Logo, many consumers have expressed actual confusion as to whether Vlada is affiliated or collaborating with MUFE. Some representative examples are shown below (Exhibits 3-5):
- User “susanmichelle92” wrote, “Is this a collab with @vladamua? The lip art looks similar to hers.”
- User “jessajess_” wrote, “@susanmichelle92 she works for makeup forever.” (Mistakenly believing that, due to MUFE’s infringement, Vlada must work for MUFE).
- User “jackie.a_” wrote, “At first glance I thought it as a collab with @vladamua.”
- User “rachaelleahx” wrote, “@vladamua was this done with you at all???”
- User “shayxtreme” wrote, “Hmmm wonder if they are gonna get Sued for copying this Lip Art …”
- User “nadzhe_gee” wrote, “@shayxtreme i was thinking the same thing . . . at first i thought the caption was gonna say a makeup forever collab with @vladamua.”
- User “brxndoncross” wrote, “I definitely thought this had something to do with @vladamua because of the lip art. I don’t know man…”
- User “h1pp13th0” wrote, “@brxndoncross I did too!! Soon as I saw it I thought of @vladamua!!”
- User “Natasza Nalewajek” wrote, “I see Vlada’s lips” in response to a picture of MUFE’s Infringing Logo.
Through this lawsuit, Vlada demands that MUFE immediately remove the infringing “Lustrous” products from sale and pay damages for MUFE’s blatant and willful copyright and trademark infringement, including a disgorgement of all of its worldwide profits from the sale of the Lustrous cosmetics line, statutory damages, and Vlada’s attorneys’ fees. Large corporations too often think they can steal designs from individual artists, especially women, without payment or consequences. That ends here.