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August 24, 2009

#27 Nude Skincare Vs Stella Nude

All rise please – the case of Nude Skincare Vs Stella Nude is now in session!

Over the last few days there has been much debate and media coverage over the trademark infringement case of Nude Skincare against Stella Nude by Stella McCartney Ltd – so I thought I would get my own two cents in.

The story thus far is this – Stella McCartney Ltd & YSL Beaute (part of L’Oreal) of which Stella McCartney beauty brand forms a part, are being sued by Nude Skincare after she named her newest fragrance Stella Nude. Nude Skincare is a skincare range owned by Bryan Meehan founder of Fresh & Wild and Ali Hewson who is married to Bono from U2.

After Nude Skincare was founded, Nude applied for and successfully registered the pan-European Community Trademark (CTM) for the word 'Nude' to be used as a trade mark specifically for perfumery and skincare, as well as for other products. So on hearing about the imminent launch of Stella’s Nude perfume they started court proceedings over the use of the word ‘Nude’.

Now what’s quite interesting is that we seem to be divided in our opinions across the pond. Over in the US the general consensus seems to be that the whole case is slightly absurd seeing as the term Nude is already widely used throughout the fashion and beauty industry – think nude tights, nude bras, the recent nude fashion trend as well as nude lipstick etc – so how can the word be trademarked? While in the UK they seem to view the case differently with quite a few bloggers questioning why you would use the name of another brand in the same market as you (beauty) for this product.

Personally I can see both points of view – yes while I do think trade marking the commonly used word Nude is quite absurd, at the end of the day it was done (personally I think it should have been questioned then if at any point) and they were awarded the trademark. This fact then indicates to me that surely L’Oreal and their legal team must have been aware that they were breaking the rules when the product was named? If however the legal team didn’t make L’Oreal aware of this – I definitely wouldn’t want to be in their shoes right now!

As the case stands at the moment and according to the Nude Official Statement “On August 20th, the High Court confirmed that Nude has a clearly arguable claim of trade mark infringement against the Stella Nude perfume. The Judge also rejected L’Oreal’s arguments that Nude's trade mark in relation to perfume was obviously invalid saying he was not convinced 'Nude' was descriptive of perfume. Nude was not granted an interim injunction to prevent the launch of Stella Nude because of the harm that would cause to L’Oreal due to the imminent launch, but the Judge concluded that whilst Nude "may ultimately prevail at the trial, it seems to me that an injunction and damages at that stage, though far from perfect as remedies, are more likely to be able to restore [Nude] to their rightful position". A trial will be taking place next year.

Very interesting! What do you guys think?


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