T-shirt trouble: Khloe Kardashian’s shirt looks pretty familiar

May 24, 2013

Khloe KardashianI don’t like the Kardashians. At all.

In fact, I would avoid them entirely if I could. The problem is, reality TV’s most famous sisters seem to have a knack for possibly infringing on trademarks and copyrights with their assorted moneymaking ventures (like, say, makeup), so when you’re writing a column about topical intellectual property issues, ignoring them is easier said than done.

This time, the Kardashian in trouble is Khloe. The New York Department of Agriculture has alleged that a t-shirt from her clothing line bears a symbol too closely resembling its own logo.

For $35, fans of Khloe can buy a $35 t-shirt that shows the Statue of Liberty in profile along with the brand name, “Rich Soil.” The Department of Agriculture thinks the logo looks too much like its own “Pride of New York” logo – Lady Liberty behind a farm, gazing over fields – which it uses to promote items made and grown in New York, like apples and wine.

(For comparison’s sake, here’s Khloe’s t-shirt and here’s the “Pride of New York” logo.)

Evidently, Rich Soil has pulled the t-shirt, and some gossip sites have misconstrued this as an admission of sorts. This isn’t true; it probably just isn’t worth it for Rich Soil to undergo the expense of legally defending a single product.

If this is the end of this spat, though, I will be a little disappointed.

Whenever someone accuses someone else of copying him or her, I always like to see what the alleged imitator has to say for him or herself. Sometimes, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, but not often. Usually, there’s a lot of floundering going on. (For reference, see any time Lady Gaga has tried to explain how “Born This Way” isn’t a ripoff of “Express Yourself.”)

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that Ms. Kardashian had very little to do with the actual design of the T-shirt. Most likely, it was some anonymous graphic designer who likes the look of vintage, retro logos and symbols (and maybe thought no one would notice if he or she was very…inspired by an existing graphic).

That means we will probably never get an explanation after all, which is too bad. I would have liked to hear it.

Wait – does that mean I am not so uninterested in the Kardashians after all?