Kim Kardashian is suing a doctor who used her likeness to promote “vampire facials.”
According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, Kardashian filed a lawsuit against an Alabama-based cosmetic doctor named Charles Runels, M.D., and his practice, the Cellular Medicine Association in Fairhope, Alabama. The 39-year-old is suing the doctor for copyright infringement, infringement of registered mark, false association, violation of the right of publicity, and California common law trademark infringement.
In the filing, it states that Runels has used Kardashian West’s name and image in his practice’s promotional pamphlets, website, and even on his own LinkedIn page. “Upon further investigation, Ms. Kardashian was horrified to discover that her name and likeness were plastered all over Runels’ website (vampirefacial.com),” documents state. “Just below a post disclaiming any association with the Vampire Facial provider from which patients had contracted HIV is a photo captioned, ‘Bar [Refaeli] & Kim Receive the Vampire Facial® Procedure.’”
The social media star also claimed that she reached out to Runels and asked him to stop using her name and likeness. But the gag is, he is the creator of the vampire facial and trademarked the treatment’s name. So he ended up declining her and told her she should pay him because she used it to promote her E! reality show. “The Defendants’ use of Ms. Kardashian’s name and likeness is not, and never has been, authorized. The Defendants have never sought Ms. Kardashian’s permission to use her as a “face” for their products and services, and Ms. Kardashian has never given such permission,” the lawsuit read. “Ms. Kardashian’s actual endorsement for a nationwide campaign such as this would command a fee well into eight figures (assuming she would even agree to do such a campaign, which she most assuredly would not).”
On Dec. 10, Runel’s posted on his business blog after the filing saying he “did not ask her to use the names to promote her show and her online presence; she used them of her own volition after having the procedure done by a physician-member of Dr. Runels’ provider group of licensees.” It also says: “He will remove all mention of Kardashian West’s name and all images of her face from his websites — as if she never had the procedure at all.”
The “vampire facial” is a facial technique that uses your own blood and a micro-needling technique to revitalize skin. Kardashian featured the procedure on an episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami in 2013.