Kim Kardashian West is suing an Alabama-based doctor for using her name and image without her permission to promote a “vampire facial,” which uses your own blood and a micro-needling technique to revitalize the skin, that she once received on an episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami in 2013.
According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, which were filed under the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Kardashian West, 39, filed the suit against Charles Runels, M.D., and his practice, the Cellular Medicine Association in Fairhope, Alabama. The suit states that Kardashian West is suing 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 (http://www.vampirefacial.com),” the 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 star also claims to have reached out to Runels and asked him to stop using her name and likeness, but he declined and requested she pay him for using the vampire facial (he trademarked the treatment’s name) since 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).”
In an article posted on Runels’ business’ blog after the filing on Dec. 10, he claims 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.”
Kardashian West’s rep and Runels have not replied to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Just last year, Kardashian West published a post on her former blog in which she explained how she regrets ever getting the vampire facial done. Because she was pregnant with daughter North at the time, she found herself in a much more painful situation than she had originally expected.
“Before I got the procedure, I just found out that I was pregnant, so I couldn’t use numbing cream or a pain killer and both are suggested,” she wrote. “It was really rough and painful for me. I couldn’t tell anyone about the pregnancy either, but I pulled Jonathan [Cheban] aside and told him.”
But since she was filming her show Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kardashian West stuck it out and dealt with the pain.
“My show was also filming the treatment, so I felt I couldn’t chicken out,” she said. “It was honestly the most painful thing ever!”