Trade mark disputes involving the world of fashion always attract intensified interest, and this might be even more true for disputes that involve celebrities, such as the current dispute between Nude Brands Limited (owned by eco-entrepreneur Bryan Meehan and Bono's wife Ali Hewson) and Stella McCartney Limited (SML) over the use the word "nude" in the name of SML's new STELLANUDE perfume. Nude Brands had applied for an interim injunction at the High Court to stop the impending launch SML's new perfume STELLANUDE or more precisely to
".... restrain the First Defendant Stella McCartney Limited ("SML"), the Second Defendant YSL Beaute Limited ("YSLB") and the Third Defendant L'Oreal (U.K.) Limited ("L'Oreal") from infringing Community Trade Mark Registration No 5781745 for the word "NUDE" by applying the sign "STELLANUDE" to perfume products."
High Court Judge Mr Justice Floyd refused to issue an injunction stopping the release of the new Stella McCartney perfume STELLANUDE, stating that he
"... consider(ed) NBL's case of trade mark infringement to be plainly arguable."
However, he also observed that the defence was equally arguable and that "everything will turn on the evidence" when the dispute goes to trial next year but stopping the launch of SML's perfume now risked causing "massive disruption" and would
"... probably cause them to abandon use of the brand altogether. Against this I regard the likelihood of actual confusion between the products in the market place in the form in which they are currently presented as minimal. In coming to this conclusion I have not needed to attach any weight to an attack by SML on the ability of NBL to pay. Nevertheless, even though an offer to fortify the cross undertaking in damages by deposit of up to £1 million with NBL's solicitors was made, I was not persuaded that if an injunction was granted, NBL's asset position is such that the award of damages on the cross undertaking would provide full protection to SML and L'Oreal."
Please click here to retrieve the judgment
in its entirety ( EWHC 2154 (Ch)).
Please click here
to read an (unrelated) story on the (unwanted) effects of strong perfume.