Hollywood Docket: Kylie Jenner Cosmetics Dispute Moved to California

A roundup of entertainment legal news involving Andy Warhol, Virgin America and others.
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Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner's legal battle with an Alabama-based cosmetics company is moving from New York to California, a federal judge decided Friday.

Sheree Cosmetics in October sued Jenner in New York federal court for trademark infringement, false endorsement and unfair competition, claiming the reality star turned billionaire infringed its "born to sparkle" mark.

Jenner's attorneys in January asked the court to dismiss the trademark action for failure to state a claim and argued that the dispute in its entirety should be moved to California federal court.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caprioni on Friday granted Jenner's motion to move the matter to the West Coast, finding that the allegedly infringing labels would have been affixed in California and therefore that venue is appropriate. Additionally, Jenner and her company are based in Southern California, along with much of the relevant evidence and likely witnesses. (Sheree is primarily based in Alabama.)

"Based on the Court’s review of the record, the preference of Plaintiff’s counsel seems to be the only reason that this case was filed in this district," writes Caprioni. "While Plaintiff is entitled to its choice of counsel, the happenstance that Plaintiff’s counsel is located in this state cannot dictate venue at Defendants’ expense."

Caprioni declined to rule on the trademark cause of action because Sheree has sought leave to amend its complaint and she believes a ruling on the merits should be reserved for the California judge. 

In other entertainment legal news:

— A dispute over Virgin America's catchy safety video is coming to a close. Noemi Del Rio in February 2018 sued Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Produced and Studio 35K claiming they used an in-flight safety rap song she created during an audition for them without asking for permission or paying her. Del Rio reached a settlement with Virgin America and Alaska Airlines earlier this year, and on Monday the remaining defendants asked a California federal judge to approve their agreement and end the dispute for good. As part of the deal, Del Rio would receive $199,000 and the companies will issue a statement about her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

— Andy Warhol's estate has won its legal battle with a photographer over an image of Prince. In 1984, the artist painted a series of portraits of Prince. Three decades later, photographer Lynn Goldsmith claimed the works infringe her copyright in a 1981 photo. The estate sued asking the court to declare that Warhol's works were protected by fair use, and she filed a countersuit. Goldsmith tried to argue Warhol's work wasn't transformative, but a New York federal judge sided with the estate. "The Prince Series works can reasonably be perceived to have transformed Prince from a vulnerable, uncomfortable person to an iconic, larger-than-life figure," writes U.S. District Judge John Koeltl. "Moreover, each Prince Series work is immediately recognizable as a 'Warhol' rather than as a photograph of Prince." (Read the full fair use analysis and opinion here.)

Honest Trailers creator Andy Signore and his ex-employer Defy Media have settled a lawsuit arising from what Signore called his "reckless" firing. He was terminated after a woman came forward on Twitter with sexual misconduct allegations and he maintains he had proof it wasn't true, but says the company didn't let him defend himself before making its decision. "While I will not discuss anything related to my former employer, I am relieved that this is finally behind me and looking forward to exposing the truth," said Signore in a June 25 statement. "Now that the case has been settled, I plan on releasing evidence and information, which will absolutely refute the false accusations of sexual assault, abuse and retribution."