FASHION LAW: Trademark feud resolved- Stella McCartney to retain rights to STELLA brand name
British fashion designer and head of her international fragrance empire, Stella McCartney, won her case banning an Australia-based cosmetics and skincare company from selling goods under the name “St Ella New York.”
Chatswood cosmetic and skincare owner, Wong Kwai Hua, attempted to trademark the product name “St Ella New York,” but received flack from McCartney, who claimed the name bared too close a resemblance with her own brand, “STELLA.” McCartney won the lengthy legal battle, that involved the Australian Trade Marks Office, arguing Hua’s brand could confuse customers into thinking she was linked to the label. Moreover, McCartney’s lawyer stated that Australians are typically “lazy in their pronunciations [phonetically],” which could further lead to confusion.
The opposition against Hua’s trademark was filed in December of 2010, after he tried to register it previously in May, arguing that Hua’s brand would throw off her own.
Hua said that his business was organized under the laws of Malaysia, and had no intention of copying McCartney’s products. He further stated that “St Ella New York” was a new and original name, and was clearly pronounced “SAINT ELLA,” which was not to be confused with “STELLA.”
The hearing officer for the case, Campbell Thompson, rejected Hua’s claims and application and sided with McCartney allowing her to maintain her brand name and nixing the small cosmetics start-up.