Ethical cosmetics brand Lush is launching a range of products under the brand Christopher North, a name shared by the UK boss of retailer Amazon, who Lush recently defeated in the High Court.
Earlier this week, the Poole-based handmade cosmetics firm won a victory over Amazon, after the latter engineered its search engine to show consumers who search for "Lush" cosmetics, listings of similar, non-Lush-branded products.
In response to Amazon's lack of contrition over the victory, Lush has created a shower gel under the name Christopher North and is using the slogan "rich, thick and full of it", a move likely to have got under the skin of Amazon’s eponymous UK managing director.
Further copy on the packaging pokes more fun at Amazon. "Recommended for you – but looks after others as well", it says, a counterpoint to what many view as the stance taken my Amazon and its management.
The cosmetics firm is also considering rolling out the brand across an array of other products, including deodorant.
Lush had trademarked the name "Christopher North" back in 2012, when its trademark wrangling with Amazon began. The firm’s founder and boss Mark Constantine had asked the online retailer 17 times to resolve the dispute amicably and outside the courts, but the offers were declined.
The idea of trademarking Christopher North’s name as a cosmetics brand had started as a joke that was to go no further than the Intellectual Property Office. But after this week’s High Court ruling, Amazon was far from contrite and said it would appeal the decision, so Lush plans to put the Christopher North toiletries on its shelves.
A Lush spokeswoman told Marketing: "We registered the name 'Christopher North' as a cosmetic product as a class 3 trademark. This was to make a point about how upsetting it is to have something personal to you, used by someone else.
"We have a [shower] smoothie product and have had initial conversations about the proceeds for this product going to charity. We didn't want to do this while court proceedings were ongoing. Mr North has made no approach to us to discuss, but we are always open to communication."
Meanwhile, commenting on Lush’s High Court win against Amazon, Fiona McBride, partner and trademark attorney at Withers & Rogers, said the decision would help set "much-needed ground rules for brand owners" and the use of keyword advertising.
She added: "The High Court found that Amazon had infringed the ‘investment function’ of the Lush trade mark by leading users of its onsite search engine and Google’s search engine to think that Lush goods were for sale at the site, when in fact they were not. Amazon had placed sponsored ads, known as Google Adwords, to promote its own product ranges, which were for sale at their website.
"In this case, the main issue is that Lush has spent some considerable time and money investing in the development of a brand that is recognised as ethical and environmentally aware.
"Having taken a decision not to make its products available for sale on Amazon, it was therefore potentially misleading that Amazon’s use of keyword advertising could confuse consumers into thinking that they might find Lush products for sale on the site."
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