Rihanna’s hugely popular Savage x Fenty venture is facing a new trademark infringement lawsuit brought by lingerie company Adore Me, according to court documents obtained by Billboard.
In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in California by attorney Diana M. Rutowski on Thursday, Adore Me alleges that Lavender Lingerie — which does business as Savage x Fenty — willfully infringed upon Adore Me’s trademark by including the “confusingly similar” trademark “Adore Us” in advertising and promotional materials for its products.
The suit further accuses the company, which Rihanna founded in 2018 as a joint venture with TechStyle Fashion Group, of purchasing “identical” keywords to the Adore Me trademark in an effort to place “misleading advertisements” in search engine results for the term.
“When a customer searches for Adore Me’s products offered under the ADORE ME Mark, the search results return Savage’s prominent use of the ADORE US Mark in connection with a link to Savage’s website, thus falsely indicating that clicking on that link will take the consumer to a site with products offered by, authorized by, or affiliated with Adore Me,” the lawsuit reads. As a result, it argues, the company “loses the opportunity to sell its other goods to consumers.”
The complaint further accuses Savage of ignoring a cease-and-desist letter Adore Me sent to the company on June 4, 2021, as well as a follow-up sent on June 8. “Though it appeared that infringing advertisements were removed on or about June 8, 2021, Adore Me learned this week that they were again in use by Defendant,” the lawsuit continues.
“Savage is causing, and unless restrained, will continue to cause damage and immediate irreparable harm to Adore Me and to its valuable reputation and goodwill with the consuming public,” it concludes.
Adore Me is asking for judgment that Savage “willfully infringed” its registered and common law “Adore Me” trademark, committed unfair competition in violation of the federal Lanham Act and California state law and committed false endorsement; a permanent injunction barring the company from using the “Adore Us” trademark; damages, exemplary damages and disgorgement of profits in an amount to be determined at trial; a declaration that this is “an exceptional case”; and full costs, attorneys’ fees and pre- and post-judgment interest.
Representatives for Savage x Fenty and Adore Me did not immediately respond to Billboard’s requests for comment.
Adore Me was founded in 2011 by Morgan Hermand-Waiche shortly after his graduation from Harvard Business School. It’s worth noting that the New York-based company, which offers a subscription service, isn’t an unknown player in the lingerie field. It was profiled by The New York Times in 2015 and had reported revenues of $104.7 million in 2017 after being named to Crain’s New York Business “Fast 50” list.
Savage x Fenty, which did a reported $600 million in sales in 2019, reached a $1 billion valuation earlier this year in the wake of a $115 million Series B funding round. Rihanna’s stake in the company has been estimated by Forbes to be $375 million.
This isn’t the first time Savage x Fenty has come under legal scrutiny. In February 2020, consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising accused the company of “deceptive marketing and illegal business practices” and urged the Federal Trade Commission to take action against it.