Saturday, November 18, 2023
GoLocalProv Business Team
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Kiel and Sarah Patrick PHOTO: Promotional Photo
Kiel James Patrick, one of Rhode Island’s great business successes, says it is under siege on social media by orchestrated harassment.
More than a decade ago, Patrick created the fashion brand and has continued to grow it online and at a flagship store on Bowen’s Wharf in Newport.
The brand is unmistakably preppy — and New England.GET THE LATEST BREAKING NEWS HERE — SIGN UP FOR GOLOCAL FREE DAILY EBLAST
“Led by the brand’s founders, Kiel and Sarah Patrick and with the tireless work of our amazing team, we strive to provide quality products that redefine originality in hopes to inspire our community of supporters to dare to live out their own dreams in one of a kind style,” writes the company.
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KJP’s Instagram Account
Social Media Harassment and Threats
Patrick’s Instagram account, titled “KJP” has more than 1.2 million followers. In comparison, Hasbro, the Fortune 500 toy company, has 389,000 Instagram followers.
Now, Patrick and his company say they are under near-constant harassment, threats, and trademark violations.
On Thursday, they filed suit in federal court in the Providence District. The suit was filed against “Jane Doe,” as the identity of the harasser is unknown.
The attorney for Patrick and his companies says the harassment has had significant damage to the company and points the finger at the harasser and Meta, the parent company of Instagram.
“Kiel James Patrick is a Rhode Island company owned by two hardworking Rhode Islanders. The defendant in this case has perpetuated a campaign of harassment and been impersonating my clients. We’ve asked Meta to step in to enforce their platforms and stop this behavior. They have refused. We’ve encouraged our clients to file this suit so we could protect them since Meta has refused to do so,” said Jeremy Savage of Savage Law Partners.
The 15-page complaint law states:
– Plaintiff [Patrick] relies heavily on social media presence and word of mouth to sell their products, build their brand recognition, and cultivate their business’ goodwill.
– A significant portion of Plaintiff’s previous and continued success is due to their renowned social media marketing skills and abilities, which often generate multiple millions of views, likes, comments, and other interactions.
– Plaintiff relies on their social media presence as a main form of advertising and marketing their brand and the KJP Marks and the Products.
– Plaintiff regularly effectively uses social media to generate attention and exposure worth millions of dollars in other and/or more traditional methods of advertising and promotion.
– Through social media expertise, Plaintiff has developed their business such that it is, and the KJP Marks are, now internationally recognized with millions of followers domestically and worldwide.
Social Media Is a Critical Part of the Company’s Marketing Strategy
The lawsuit states, “The individual Instagram account for Mr. Patrick, “@kjp” has over one million two hundred thousand (1,200,000) followers and Mr. Patrick’s individual TikTok account, “@kjp” has over one million five hundred thousand (1,500,000) followers. Plaintiff also advertises and promotes their brand and the KJP Marks and the Products through the Instagram account of Mr. Patrick’s wife, Sarah, “@SarahKJP”, which has almost six hundred thousand (600,000) followers.”
“Plaintiff’s Instagram account for the business, “@kieljamespatrick”, additionally has over one hundred and forty thousand (140,000) followers. Plaintiff’s social media accounts, including those of Mr. Patrick and his wife, regularly post, as marketing material and content, original photographs that feature a recognizable aesthetic and point of view associated with Plaintiff and its brand and the KJP Marks and Products, including without limitation photographs of the Flagship Store, and Mr. Patrick and wife, Sarah,” states the lawsuit.
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The company’s Newport store at Bowen’s Wharf PHOTO: Promotional
The defendant has allegedly harassed Patrick by using KJP’s copyrighted images and posting harassing social media posts.
But, for Patrick and his lawyers, the defendant’s identity is unknown, and Meta has refused to respond to requests to stop the violations or remove the alleged violator. The violator has mocked the complaints online.
Prior to going to court, Patrick repeatedly raised concerns with Meta.
“Plaintiff contacted Instagram and Meta Platforms, Inc. multiple times to attempt to find a non-judicial solution to Defendant’s and Defendant’s Accounts repeated and continuing infringement of their intellectual property rights. Plaintiff received no response from Instagram following using the reporting tool and several of the reported posts remain accessible despite their obviously infringing, harassing, and even dangerous nature,” states the suit.
Further the lawsuit states, “Given Instagram’s lack of response to their own internal reporting tool, Plaintiff sent a demand letter to Instagram and Meta Platforms, Inc. detailing Defendant’s infringement of Plaintiff’s intellectual property rights, but also the campaign of harassment and endangerment directed towards Mr. Patrick that Defendant conducted via Defendant’s Accounts…”
And according to the suit, “Upon information and belief, Defendant operates and uses multiple Instagram accounts to effectuate a coordinated scheme of infringement and disparagement of Plaintiff. “
And, the suit asserts, “When using their accounts (i.e., Defendant’s Accounts) Defendant is careful not to reveal their identity or post any personal picture or information about or indicating their identity. “
The Lawsuit seeks remedies from the court relative to trademark violations, damages and more.
“Defendant’s infringing acts have caused and are likely to cause confusion, mistake, and deception among the relevant consuming public as to the source, nature, and quality of the goods Plaintiff is offering under the KJP Marks and have and are likely to deceive the relevant consuming public into believing, mistakenly, that Defendant is associated or affiliated with or sponsored by Plaintiff,” states the suit.
Unstated, but likely, if Patrick were to receive relief from the court, that could be used to in communications or future litigation against Meta.
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