‘Not theirs to claim’: Korean American entrepreneur threatened with ‘pimple patches’ trademark lawsuit

David Yi faces lawsuit over "pimple patches"

David Yi, a Korean American style and beauty entrepreneur, said a potential lawsuit from the men’s grooming brand Stryx is a threat to his business.

Pimple patches product: Yi’s startup beauty brand, Good Light, launched “luna pimple patches” in late October.

  • He received an email on Nov. 8 from Stryx’s legal team, threatening to sue for using the name “pimple patches” for one of his products.
  • On Tuesday, Yi posted a screenshot of the email and his reaction to Stryx’s warning on Instagram, where it has amassed over 7,000 likes as of Thursday.
  • Both Stryx and Good Light have “pimple patch” products. Stryx’s product is called “PIMPLE PATCHES.”
  • The email claimed that Yi’s brand violated Stryx’s trademark on the term “pimple patches.”
  • Stryx, however, does not have an active trademark of the “pimple patches” product name, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. The application for the trademark was accepted by the USPTO on April 30 and is currently awaiting evaluation.

Stryx’s Demands: The email states Stryx’s demands that Yi and Good Light follow the five protocols of trademark infringement:

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  • Good Light must cease and desist all further use of the words “pimple patches” in his products.
  • Good Light must recall all previously sold products that include the words.
  • The company must destroy all current materials related to the product.
  • Good Light must send a full amount of gross revenue and profits made from their pimple patches.
  • Good Light must send written confirmation that they will address these demands immediately.

Yi’s Response: In Yi’s Instagram post, he wrote he is “sad” and “angry” as a result of Stryx’s email, pointing out he is among many LGBTQIA+ business owners to face such threats.

  • “It’s very difficult for me to post this today,” the Korean American founder wrote.
  • He said Good Light, which he launched after five years of working as the editor-in-chief of his blog Very Good Light, is at risk of closing down because of this threat.
  • He said he is angry Stryx is claiming ownership of an innovation that was developed in South Korea. And, while Stryx uses manufacturers in South Korea for their product, none of the company’s founders are Korean themselves.
  • “Stryx is attempting to own a product and a word that is NOT theirs to claim,” Yi wrote. “South Korean innovation cannot be claimed by anyone — it is created for everyone.”
  • Yi hopes people won’t see his post as a “cancelation.” Rather, he aims to make a statement about standing up for one’s self in the hopes that he will inspire others to do the same.
  • “Many go out of business because they do not have the resources or bandwidth to fight back,” he wrote.

In response to Yi’s post, fashion blog Diet Prada called out Stryx for targeting Yi, saying other companies have also produced pimple patch products as well: “DOZENS of other beauty brands also sell and market similar products with your ‘trademark,’” the blogger wrote in an Instagram caption. “Are you going after them too?”

Featured Images from David Yi 이준영

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