Sweet Smell of Success for L'Oreal

Lancome_Tresor.jpgWould a rose by any other name really smell as sweet?  Bellure and its fellow defendants in a case decided today by the European Court of Justice had better hope so, since the ruling in favor of L'Oreal restricts the use of direct comparisons in advertising and of lookalike perfume packaging -- even when there's no likelihood of consumer confusion or harm to the original brand. 

Designer_Imposters_CalvinKlein_Confess.jpgIn response to a series of specific questions referred from a U.K. court, the ECJ concluded that "to ride on the coat-tails" of a trademark with a reputation or to present a fragrance as an imitation of another with a well-known trademark constitutes an "unfair advantage."  The case will now go back to the U.K. for a final decision. 

Unlike in the U.S., where the "Designer Imposters" line remains a drugstore staple two decades after an unsuccessful legal challenge, it seems that those who would pluck fragrant European trademarks had better watch for legal thorns.  

Via Le petit Musee des Marques (on Twitter). 

Previous posts:  Passing the Smell Test, Copyright Nose No Limits