International law firm Bird & Bird has won an important dispute between pharmaceutical company Allergan Inc and beauty product manufacturer, Klein Becker relating to the Botox® brand. The dispute, which arose as a result of a comparative advertising campaign launched by Klein Becker claiming their new product was “Better than Botox®”, came to its conclusion last month when the Paris Court of First Instance (TGI) ruled in Allergan’s favour finding Klein Becker guilty of unfair competition.
The case went to court after Klein Becker started a comparative advertising campaign for a new anti-aging cream called StriVectin SD. Distributed exclusively through the Sephora beauty shops, the marketing campaign adopted to launch the new product claimed the cream was “Better than Botox®”. Allergan Inc, owners of the Botox® brand issued proceedings against Klein Becker at the TGI claiming damages due to unfair competition.
Last month, the TGI came down in Allergan’s favour, ruling that Botox® is sufficiently distinctive in character which confirmed – for the first time in France - its position as a “famous trademark”. The Court also stated that the advertising campaign was unfair, disparaging and misleading to consumers and made the point that due to different regulatory systems, beauty and medical products should not be compared. Klein Becker was also asked to pay 100,000 euros in damages.
Bird & Bird partner and head of the IP department in France, Isabelle Leroux led the case for Allergan Inc with assistance from Olivia Lagache and Laure Desquand.
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