Kim Kardashian Sues Old Navy For Hiring Actress Who Looks Like Her

from the big-ass-infringement dept

Kim Kardashian doesn’t get written about much on Techdirt because she’s not relevant in the world of…well, in the world, really.  But you may remember her being discussed back when she was upset that some cookie-diet company was featuring news stories suggesting she liked their product on their website.  Now we have a story in the LA Times, sent in by John MacMullen, detailing her new lawsuit against Old Navy for infringing on her publicity rights…or something.

We’ve been hearing more about these publicity rights being tossed around lately, but that doesn’t mean they’re new.  Fortunately for us, at least these types of cases tend to be entertaining in their ridiculousness.  Perhaps you’ve heard the case involving Vanna White and the company that got sued for having a blonde-haired robot that dared to turn letters?  Or the one where Johnny Carson sued Here’s Johnny Portable Toilets Inc. because he used the tagline "the world’s most famous commodian" on The Tonight Show?  Well, I don’t know if Kim can top that, but let’s take a look.

Apparently Old Navy hired an actress that looks like Kim and featured her in a television ad campaign.  If you’re waiting for a follow up including some kind of long list of Kardashian-related things the actress did in the video or some kind of hinting that Old Navy themselves did to suggest something related to Kim, there isn’t any.  She just looks like Kim Kardashian, which apparently is enough to sue over.  You can see the commercial for yourself below (make sure you have a barf bag handy):

So I have a couple of questions. 

First: How does just hiring someone that looks like someone else require a lawsuit?  At no point when I braved my way through watching the commercial did I think to myself, "Oh, that’s totally something Kim Kardashian would have done".  I mean, if the commercial showed the actress, oh I don’t know, waving the Armenian flag, that would’ve been one thing.  And perhaps if the commercial showed her videotaping herself being nailed by a mildly talented R&B singer, I would have inferred the reference.  But the casting call for the commercial didn’t even call for a Kim look-a-like!  The actress, Melissa Molinaro, told E! Online that her casting call had been "for a true dance pop superstar."

Second: At what point does this work the other way around?  Molinaro said in relation to this story:

"Thank God I booked this commercial because I’ve gotten so much airtime."

What if, as a result of this thing, she becomes famous?  Like, really famous?  Say, more famous than Kim Kardashian?  Does that mean Kim can’t ever do an ad campaign again, because Molinaro will immediately file suit?


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Comments on “Kim Kardashian Sues Old Navy For Hiring Actress Who Looks Like Her”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Uh, she’s famous for having a sex tape like Paris Hilton and for knowing Paris Hilton who also had a sex tape. I think it just goes to show that if you want to be famous in today’s celebrity environment that you should probably have a sex tape. And know Paris Hilton. Sex tape!

David Muir (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

From Wikipedia: The Kardashians are an extraterrestrial species in the Star Trek science fiction franchise. Their leader, Robert George Kardashian was a Federation attorney, best known as one of the lawyers for, and a friend of, Lieutenant Commander O. J. Simpson of the Starship Mustaquit. Kim Kardashian is Robert’s daughter, a lesser being, butt bigger than most.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:

born rich and slutty

if your born rich you are generally not famous unless you accomplish something that brings you fame, or you can be slutty and then have to accomplish nothing and will probably be more famous than you would be by actually doing something important.

Clause 1: your sluttiness requires proof, usually best accomplished by banging a b-list celebrity and having the tape “leak”

Gracey (user link) says:

Re: Re:

I’m with you – I don’t know who she is either.

However, I did give up the lazies for once, and googled her.

She’s nobody I have any interest in and I apparently haven’t ever even heard of her “reality” shows.

I can’t really see why this case even exists. She’s afraid of what? That someone else looks like her and is getting paid as an actress?

Qritiqal (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t see the resemblance between the two at ALL, but I’m funny that way.

I’ve had extraordinary face recognition abilities for most of my life. My wife does NOT. We’ll be watching a show and she’ll say, “Is that the woman from…?” to which I immediately reply (her not having said the name of the show or the name of the person), “NO. That is not her and they look nothing alike.” The sad part is that I usually know who she was talking about and also know that the person is a different actor.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t pay enough attention to anything Kim Kardashian does, other than noting her name (and often picture) get plastered on the news every week or two. I don’t even pay enough attention to her likeness to have even noticed any possible similarities to this model.

However, having seen the commercial, the similarities are totally obvious. Kim Kardashian sucks and so does this commercial.

evilned says:

I can tell the difference

How can you tell the difference between Melissa Molinaro and Kim whatshername?

Melissa doesn’t have a butt the size of Montana.

Melissa doesn’t have thighs like old growth in the Redwood forest.

Melissa uses only one bodily orifice publicly and that is for vocalizations.

Melissa appears to have more that 3 functioning brains cells

Melissa appears to have actual talent.

btr1701 says:


> At what point does this work the other way around?

That’s what I’ve always wondered about this sort of thing. Why is it that the celebrity is always presumed to have the only publicity rights? How come this model can’t turn around right now and sue Kim Kardashian for looking like *her* and being a complete douche, thereby damaging *her* reputation?

btr1701 says:

Re: Reverse

I’ve re-thought my position on this.

Kardashian should indeed have veto power over people’s lives if they happen to resemble her. She’s not only rich & famous, she’s rich and famous for no real reason at all, which makes her the elite of the elite. These people are our decided betters and we have to treat them accordingly.

Stellar says:

LMAO Really? Kim?

Jealousy is a disease and Kim clearly needs to take a sick day. The girl SOMEWHAT looks like her but you can clearly tell it’s not. On top of that, you can’t sue over someone “resembling” you. And sorry Kim.. you didn’t create the wavy curly hair style you always rock so you might want to step aside. I think this just boils down to the fact she is pissed homegirl is dating her ex. Not only does this look narcissistic but it’s just plain stupid. Kick rocks Kim!

John William Nelson (profile) says:

This will be an interesting case . . .

Vanna White sued over a robot in a commercial who performed a job similar to hers in a spoof of a gameshow similar to wheel of fortune.

And she won.

I have to say, watching the commercial, I could see the Kardashian look. There is definitely homage to the fashion scene and culture scene Kardashian moves in.

Is that enough to give this case legs? I dunno.

Pickle Monger (profile) says:

First of all, why did she sue Old Navy? Old Bany doesn’t look like Kim Kardashian, Melissa Molinaro does. Shouldn’t that latter have been sued for infringement?

In any case, I think I have a solution: Kim Kardashian used to date Reggie Bush. Now Melissa Molinaro is dating him. I think Reggie Bush should be called in as an expert witness to say whether they are more similar or more different.

ladyserenakitty (profile) says:

How can anyone honestly take this case seriously? A person has limited control over what they look like, much less who else they might look like. Old Navy was going for a certain look and they found someone who met their requirements, it’s not like they went out of their way to make the actress look like someone else. This is like some random black guy suing a company whose ad featured a black guy that wasn’t him and claiming publicity rights.

Pickle Monger (profile) says:

I's got a lawsuit, you's got a lawsuit, all God's children got a lawsuit

Here’s another thought: since this lawsuit would make it impossible for Melissa Molinaro to do any commercials without the everpresent threat of another lawsuit and would effectually bar her from doing any more advertisement work, she should just counter sue Kim Kardashian for interference with commerce. I’ll bet that a threat of a 20-yr sentence would do wonders.

Ari says:

Dummy, should Victorious sue too?

The actress looks more(In my openion) like VicTORIous than Kim. Why dont she sue if having similer looks call for a lawsuit.
I am a brunett, so can I sue?!?! I want one million dollars for very brunett hair on the actress’s hear!!! And three million for every other actor in the comerchial!!! Just kidding.
Kim needs to get a life. Seriously.

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