The treatment, which is trademarked by Alabama doctor Dr Charles Runels, was performed on Kim and her sister Kourtney Kardashian at one of Dr Runels’ Cellular Medicine Association practices, by one of his licensed physicians.
Kim is now suing Dr Runels, who she recently found out has been using her photo and endorsement without her consent.
The lawsuit, filed by Kim's attorneys, is for copyright infringement, infringement of registered mark, false association, violation of the right of publicity and California common law trademark infringement.
"Defendant Charles Runels is a doctor in Alabama. In characteristically self-promoting fashion, he describes himself alternatively as the 'Orgasm Doctor' and the 'Calvin Klein of medicine,'" the court documents state. "To that end, while he appears to maintain a small practice in Alabama, most of his time is spent touting the various cosmetic procedures he has purported to trademark—including, as relevant here, the Vampire Facial."
The documents also note that while Kim and Kourtney did "get" a vampire facial, they "certainly never licensed their name in connection with the procedure".
"Upon further investigation, Ms. Kardashian was horrified to discover that her name and likeness were plastered all over Runels' website (www.vampirefacial.com). 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.'"
According to the legal documents, Kim originally tried to settle the matter outside of court, but it didn’t go so well.
"When Ms. Kardashian reached out to Runels and his trademark attorney to demand that he cease using her name and likeness without her consent, he not only refused to take down the pictures of her and references to her; he had the temerity to demand that she pay him."
"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 docs also note, "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)."
Last year, Kim said on her website that she regrets getting the facial and will "never" do it again. She explained that it was "really rough and painful" for her.
Dr Runels has taken to his blog to address his side of the lawsuit.
“Kim Kardashian-West used the Vampire Facial® and the Vampire Facelift® name to promote her TV show and to promote her online presence. Her selfie after having one of the procedures also used the names owned by Dr. Runels. Dr. Runels did not ask her to use the names to promote her show and her online presence, she used them of her own volition.”
His blog continues, “The photo of Kardashian-West with the attached “Vampire Facial®” name owned by Dr. Runels went viral and is now on thousands of websites. Dr. Runels also posted the photo (pointing out the fact the Kardashian had the procedure) to his own website. He is now being sued by Ms. Kardashian West for a part of the profits made by the procedure, even though she was never asked to endorse it.”
Speaking to E! News, Dr Runels said, "The name Vampire Facial®, that is my intellectual property." He also noted that he owns the name ‘Vampire Facial®’ and Kim used it on the TV show without his permission.
"I feel like this is someone shaking down some little doctor for something that is public knowledge."