Being one of the biggest beauty brands in the UK, L’Oréal are one of a number of companies that are on top of the IP. This then pushes them to ensure that any new products they are developing with also be protected by Intellectual Property rights.
Their latest attempt to gain protection was an application in 2012 for ‘Idéalia’ to be registered as a trade mark in the European Union. The mark was to registered in relation to goods and services that included perfumes, shower gels and mousses.
This application hit a roadblock when Produtos Farmacêuticos e Nutracêuticos, a Portuguese based laboratory, filed an opposition against the application stating that it would infringe their registered mark ‘Idealina’ which was given protection in 2011 and covers laundry, cosmetics and perfumes.
This opposition was considered in 2014, where the court held that there was a likelihood of confusion between the two marks. They deemed the two marks ‘visually and phonetically similar’. The application was therefore rejected.
However, the battle didn’t end here as L’Oréal appealed the decision and asked the General Court of the EU to lift the previous rejection and allow the application to move forward.
This appeal however was not successful as the court agreed with the previous decision stating that the conceptual similarity prevents the application from moving forward.
The application was rejected and L’Oréal will now have to develop their new product without protection from IP.
This is an example that shows the importance of being familiar with existing IP rights before creating a brand.