April 12, 2022
Cosmetics and copyright: battling the copycats
Cosmetics and copyright: battling the copycats

Just like the fashion industry, the cosmetics industry is seeing more and more copycat products. Although this isn’t new, the number of copycats we are seeing is on the rise - from mimicking packaging to the print on the powders, there is a copycat “alternative” to most popular makeup brands and hero products nowadays. 

One of the many IP rights that brand owners can rely on in the war against dupes is copyright.  So, how does copyright interact with cosmetics?

Copyright is an IP right that is automatically generated at the time of creation, and one that doesn’t require registration in the UK (other jurisdictions do require registration, so this is something to look out for).  

Making sure your cosmetic product has copyright is key – you need to be able to demonstrate that it is an independent creation and that it falls in the exhaustive types of works detailed in the Act.

To help show how copyright can work in your favour, it’s good to look at a case where copyright came to the rescue, namely Islestarr Holdings Ltd v Aldi Stores Ltd [2019] EWHC 1473 (Ch). 

In this case, we saw the company behind Charlotte Tilbury (“Tilbury”) go head-to-head with Aldi over Tilbury’s iconic Filmstar bronze and glow palette.

The good news for Tilbury was that Aldi were found to have infringed the copyright which subsisted in the product.

The artistic works were the starburst design on the lid of a powder case, and the powder design embossed onto the two separate makeup powders within – but how did copyright help Tilbury to takedown a copycat?

You can read the full article that Emma Day wrote for CiTMA (The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys) here.

Designs & Copyright /  Disputes /  Beauty

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