L’Oreal Loses EU Court Challenge Over Botox-Like Trademarks

L’Oreal SA (OR)’s effort to register trademarks that sound similar to Botox, a wrinkle treatment made by Allergan Inc. (AGN), was rejected by the top European Union court.

The EU Court of Justice backed the earlier refusals by the EU trademark office for L’Oreal to own the rights to the words “botolist” and “botocyl” for cosmetic products.

“The use of the marks at issue would take unfair advantage of the reputation of the ‘Botox’ trademarks,” according to a court statement today.

Botox, Allergan’s top-selling drug, is a purified form of the poison botulinum, which is given as an injection to paralyze certain muscles and nerves to make patients appear more youthful. L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics maker, was trying to “take advantage” of Botox’s reputation by using similar names for cosmetics, Allergan had told a lower court.

“This court ruling reinforces Allergan’s position that the Botox name should only be used in relation to Allergan’s product,” said Janet Kettels, a spokeswoman for the company.

L’Oreal didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

L’Oreal and Nestle SA (NESN) compete with Allergan’s Botox in selling an injectable skin treatment, Azzalure, in Europe.

The case is C-100/11 P Rubinstein and L’Oreal v OHIM

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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