L'Oréal To Appeal After UK Setback In Haircare Patent Row
On Tuesday, L'Oréal – the maker of brands like Lancôme and Maybelline – said that it would seek to appeal a British court ruling favouring a US start-up that accuses the French cosmetics giant of infringing its patent on a haircare product.
The case is one offshoot of a long-running row that has also sparked litigation in the United States.
Olaplex, a firm based in California, argues that L'Oréal infringed the UK patent for its Bond Multiplier products – mainly for use in salons – which protect bleached hair and have proved a hit with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.
L'Oréal, which at one point in mid-2015 was in takeover discussions with Olaplex, later launched a competing product, Smartbond, which the US start-up claims dented its sales.
The French beauty group denies accusations that it had access to confidential information during the acquisition talks, saying that no formal due diligence that would have given it greater access ever took place.
The UK High Court dismissed ten out of 11 claims in the case filed by Olaplex, according to its ruling on Monday, but upheld one claim relating to the ingredients in Olaplex's formula, marking a setback for L'Oréal.
Judges will later decide whether to grant an injunction against further sales of L'Oréal's Smartbond products, Olaplex said.
L'Oréal said that it strongly disagreed with the court decision, adding, "We will be applying for permission to appeal."