Olaplex LLC is alleging that LÂOrÃ©al USA- the U.S. arm of the French owned cosmetics giant has copied its award-winning hair product and marketing strategy in relation to the product. It has filed a complaint for patent infringement and false advertising at the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Olaplex manufactures a range of products called Âbond buildersÂ- these products protect the hair during bleach treatments. The product at the centre of this dispute was launched in 2014. Typically the process of chemically bleaching hair leaves hair feeling coarse and fragile. OlaplexÂs three-step system that is used during the process of chemically bleaching protects the hair and maintains a healthy undamaged appearance. This protection is achieved as a result of the product containing an active chemical called Âbis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleateÂ. Olpalex secures patents for this chemical to be used in its product.
In the court documents Olaplex claims that its product is the Âfirst successful and effective product in the hair bonding marketÂ and that Âit is the world leader in that marketÂ.
The court documents reveal that in early 2015, LÂOrÃ©al attempted to recruit OlaplexÂs key employees, who it believed were behind the development of the contentious product. Thereafter LÂOrÃ©al approached Olaplex with a view to buying the company.
The lawsuit alleges that during these takeover discussions, LÂOrÃ©al had access to its confidential information which included proprietary technology relating to OlaplexÂs technology and chemistry behind its products, social media marketing strategy and one of its unpublished patent applications. By September 2015, the possibility of a takeover had fallen through. Olaplex alleges that upon receipt of the confidential information ÂLÂOrÃ©al ceased pursuing an acquisition of Olaplex, and instead wilfully took and copied OlaplexÂs technology without authorisation to create three slavish Âme tooÂ Âknock-offsÂÂ.
Olaplex alleges that as a result of being armed with the above LÂOrÃ©al Âcopied the revolutionary three-step Olaplex system (which includes the patented technology at issue) to protect hair during professional bleaching treatmentsÂ. Olaplex further alleges that LÂOrÃ©alÂs marketing bears a strong resemblance to that of OlaplexÂs.
LÂOrÃ©al commented ÂWe strongly oppose the merit of these claims and the validity of the patent and LÂOrÃ©al USA will defend this position vigorouslyÂ.