It’s not often you see a company take an argument far enough to make a cosmetics line about it, but that’s exactly what’s happened here with Amazon UK and the company known as Lush. This cosmetics company does not sell product on Amazon, but because of the way Amazon’s search is set up, searching for Lush on Amazon results in some rather similar-looking products with a lot of potential to mislead.
The name “Lush” brings up rather different results in Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, but this battle is about a few unique products the Lush crew aren’t especially happy about, listed by Amazon with similar looks. These looks are deceptively similar, so suggested Lush, so much so that their “sex bomb” bath salts and “Prince Charming” shower gel are marked specifically.
Head to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll find products not made by Lush but that looks surprisingly similar, made and sold by competing companies. A high court ruling in the UK agreed with this suggestion made by Lush founders Mark and Mo Constantine.
“[The] right of the public to access technological development does not go so far as to allow a trader such as Amazon to ride roughshod over intellectual property rights, to treat trademarks such as Lush as no more than a generic indication of a class of goods in which the consumer might have an interest.” – Judge John Baldwin QC
According to the Constantines, Amazon had – before their latest move – ignored “all attempts to resolve the dispute amicably”, according to The Guardian. Upon finding Amazon to appeal the court case, the Constantines decided to take the road less trodden.
Lush now owns the intellectual rights to the name Christopher North, attached to Lush’s own Cosmetic Warriors Limited for a line of pharmaceuticals, perfumes, and toiletries. Christopher North is the name of Amazon.co.uk’s managing director.
You’ll see some of the products (as mocked up by Engadget’s Dan Cooper) up top of this article, but just incase you didn’t notice, the tagline reads: “Rich, thick, and full of it.” The product also promises the following:
“[For those with a] recent history of dry dull skin. … top tip: Kindle a new love for your skin, it’s not taxing to take care of your skin with this product packed with Amazon Prime ingredients.”
The Mark Constantine has taken a pre-emptive move in trademarking his own name should Amazon feel cheeky enough to counter-strike with a similar product. Constantine notes Amazon’s lawyers have reported that North is “hopping mad” at the moment – we’ll see if Lush products (name brand or no) remain on Amazon.co.uk for long after this.
NOTE: Both the Mark Constantine trademark and the Christopher North trademark were filed all the way back in October of 2012. In other words, this silky smooth response has been a long time coming.
ALSO NOTE: The mock-up above (again, by Dan Cooper) uses the Lush product Snow Fairy as a base. It’s not real. Not yet, anyway.