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Kim Kardashian sues Old Navy over ads starring lookalike [Poll]

July 20, 2011 |  7:02 pm

Kim Kardashian sues Old Navy over lookalike ads featuring Melissa Molinaro

Well, this is fun: Kim Kardashian is apparently unhappy seeing "Kim Kardashian" affiliated with a national brand. Of course, the fact that she has no deal with the brand, Old Navy, is a big part of the problem -- and presumably why she filed a lawsuit on Wednesday. 

Kardashian is suing the low-priced clothing chain, alleging that it deliberately infringed upon her public persona when it hired near-lookalike actress-dancer Melissa Molinaro for a new ad campaign that launched early this year. The campaign was "purposefully designed and intended to confuse, to cause mistake, and to deceive the public" into believing the reality TV diva was appearing in the commercials," the lawsuit alleges. 

Molinaro's similarity to Kardashian did put the campaign in the spotlight when the ads launched.

One February headline on a story about the "So C.U.T.E" commercial posed this question: "Were You Fooled by Old Navy's Kim Kardashian Lookalike?"

At the time, Molinaro called the comparison "extremely flattering. She is a beautiful woman .... That's an amazing compliment." She also told E! Online that her casting call had not been for a Kardashian lookalike but rather "for a true dance pop superstar."

"It's just crazy to me because I think I look like Melissa Molinaro," Not-Kim said. "I've been in the business for a long time and ... thank God I booked this commercial because I've gotten so much airtime."

And that's kind of the point, according to what Kardashian attorney Gary Hecker said in a statement. "Kim Kardashian is immediately recognizable, and is known for her look and style. Her identity and persona are valuable. When her intellectual property rights are violated, she intends to enforce them."

It's hardly the first time a Kardashian has had to police the moneymaking family name. When the Connecticut attorney general's office harshly criticized the fees on a prepaid "Kardashian Kard" MasterCard, the card deal was promptly cut up.

Though no dollar amount was attached to the Old Navy suit, sources told TMZ that Team Kardashian estimates the damage at $15 million to $20 million.  

Here's the ad -- did you do a double-take? Vote in the poll below.


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-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Kim Kardashian, left, with her wax-figure double last July at Madame Tussauds in New York. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press