Posh’s bitter Aussie legal battle decided

A trademark battle over the letters "VB" between former Victoria Beckham and a Sydney-based skincare company has been settled.

The former Spice Girl instigated the proceedings in April, after Homebush West-based VB Skinlab sought to register the trademarks "VB Salon" and "VB Skinlab" in Australia for marketing its products and services.

A listing for the appeal in the Federal Circuit Court last Wednesday was vacated as the parties worked towards an agreement. By Friday, Judge Julia Baird made orders dismissing the appeal by consent, noting parties had agreed to terms in a settlement.

The 46-year-old was appealing a decision by IP Australia, which in March found she had not established any grounds of opposition and the two VB marks should proceed to registration.

IP Australia delegate Nicholas Smith described Beckham as "an individual from the United Kingdom who is a well-known figure in the fields of music … and fashion" in the initial decision.

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But Beckham, whose self-titled luxury fashion label and Estée Lauder cosmetics line is marketed with her initials, argued that consumers would be confused into thinking she was a sponsor of the company.

She claimed the Sydney company was attempting to falsely associate her with its products, bringing to light the use of a dark-haired model on the company's website, and pointing out she has "extensively used and promoted the VB word mark in Australia and overseas in relation to various beauty and fashion related goods, including cosmetics".

IP Australia said it was "unpersuaded" that using "an attractive female model with long dark hair" on its website was "in any way a reference" to the star.

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"Furthermore, the mere fact that a cosmetics company has used an attractive female model with long dark hair in connection with their products is hardly a basis to assert bad faith," the decision said, ordering the star to pay the company's legal costs.

Judge Bairds orders directed the registrar of trademarks to "take all necessary steps" for the two trademark applications to proceed to registration. No orders were made regarding costs.


Originally published as Posh's bitter Aussie legal battle decided