Over the weekend, CNNMoney published an interesting story about Chroma and Kroma. The former is a makeup studio in Beverly Hills, Calif., and the latter is a cosmetics line based in Orlando, Fla. Both sets of entrepreneurs are now engaged in a legal battle to protect their trademarked names against the Kardashian sisters' latest venture, a cosmetics line called Khroma.
The word "Kroma" means "color" in Greek, so it's a natural choice for an entrepreneur opening a cosmetics business. But when a pair of celebrity sisters like the Kardashians adopt the name, it's unlikely that the entrepreneur's brand will be recognized in the face of the sisters' popularity - which is exactly what the entrepreneurs behind Chroma and Kroma fear.
Chroma, which has been selling its cosmetics for 12 years, is suing under the common law trademark guidelines that protect companies who have been using a name for a period of time to sell products. Kroma actually has a trademark granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is suing to enforce their rights.
While Chroma and Kroma beat the Kardashians to the punch, in the face of their celebrity, their brands most likely don't stand a chance to be recognized on their own. The hard-won lesson for any entrepreneur is to choose a very unique name. It's certainly not the entrepreneurs' fault that the Kardashains descended upon their business space and business names, but forward-thinking entrepreneurs will take this as a lesson learned and spend a little extra time thinking up something very unique and very specific so that their brands won't be diluted by a group of people famous for just being famous.