Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham in trademark stoush with Sydney skincare company – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

by beauty journalist

Updated

April 20, 2020 14:31:03

Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is taking a Sydney-based skincare company to court, opposing its use of the letters “VB” in trademarks.

Key points:

VB Skinlab sought to register two marks which appeared in a trademark journal in August 2018.

The 46-year-old pop star and fashion designer claimed they “would be likely to deceive or cause confusion” in Australia because her fashion and cosmetics products also use the letters VB.

Beckham argued she had been using her mark in Australia since September 2016, including in an Estee Lauder cosmetics range.

She further contended the Sydney company’s website featured an image of “a slim brunette with long hair” similar to her own image.

Beckham’s legal team said she promoted her businesses through her substantial social media presence, with 12.8 million followers on Twitter and 24.9 million on Instagram.

Her businesses are valued at more than 100 million British pounds ($196 million).

In a decision first published last month, IP Australia compared the respective trademarks and found there were “clear differences”.

They were namely the “stylisation of the VB element in the Skinlab mark, the presence of the horizontal line, and the addition of the word ‘skinlab’.”

The differences were sufficient to conclude they were not “substantially identical”, IP Australia said.

It also found despite her “significant fame”, Beckham had only acquired “at best a very limited reputation in Australia for cosmetic products” in the 18-months preceding the trademark battle.

IP Australia said it had been “particularly unpersuaded” by the argument about the brunette woman.

“Given the fame of the Opponent, it would be obvious to most visitors that the model is a completely different women,” the decision said.

IP Australia found Beckham had not established any grounds for her opposition, including that VB Skinlab had attempted to take advantage of Beckham’s reputation.

Beckham has launched an appeal in the Federal Circuit Court and the matter will next be heard on Wednesday.

This content was originally published here.

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