Well, at least in the trademark arena, a Beatles heir defeated a preliminary injunction motion brought by the wife of the lead singer of U2. The dispute centered around Stella McCartney’s launch of the perfume “STELLANUDE” last weekend.
Bono’s wife, Ali Hewson, is an owner of the cosmetics company Nude Brands Co., Ltd. Her company owns the European Union trademark on “NUDE” in capital letters and the United States Trademark for NUDE.
Bono’s wife brought a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent Paul McCartney’s daughter from launching her new perfume. The English High Court denied the injunction because the delay in selling Stella McCartney’s perfume would cause massive disruption to the company and cost millions of pounds to the company (i.e., advertising, packaging, etc.).
Of course, this may only be a battle victory for Ms. McCartney and her company. Bono’s wife and her company intend to fully pursue the trademark infringement claim to trial. Mrs. Bono may still ultimately win the war over the “NUDE” trademark.
Would the result be different in the United States?
As I blogged about recently, a federal court in New York took a different view regarding a trademark issue involving eBay than the courts in France and Germany had taken on the issue. Similarly, some United States courts have differed in their treatment of preliminary injunction motions in the context of a trademark dispute than the English High Court involved with the “NUDE” trademark case. For example, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota recently issued an injunction in a trademark dispute applying the long-standing (at least in the United States) presumption of irreparable harm in the case Gold’s Gym Licensing LLC v. K-Pro Mktg. Group, Inc., No. 09-CV-1211, (D. Minn. July 28, 2009). If the presumption was applied, Mrs. Bono may have had more luck with her preliminary injunction motion in the United States courts. Yet, the applicability of this presumption across courts in the United States is an open question in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange, LLC, 547 U.S. 388 (2006)—declining to apply the presumption in a patent case.