Benefit Cosmetics has lost a legal battle to trademark the exclusive use of the term ‘Brow Bar’ in Australia.
Benefit has Brow Bar salons across Australia, yet the chain was established despite the company’s knowledge that Queensland businesses woman Chernai Noonan already owned seven salons called The Brow Bar.
Legal action began in 2009 when Noonan found out that Benefit had begun using the term ‘Brow Bar’ in Australia and immediately filed a trademark application. She contacted Benefit and urged the company to cease its use of the term.
Yet lawyers for Benefit fought the case and the cosmetics giant continued to grow its chain of brow bars across the country despite knowledge of the trademark clash.
A hearing on the matter was held at the Australian Trademark Office in February, at which Noonan told the court that customers would often confuse her business, The Brow Bar, with Benefit’s Brow Bar at Myer stores in Western Australia, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.
The case has now been ruled in the Noonan’s favour and she has been granted exclusive use of the term, having registered an Australian trademark application prior to Benefit’s efforts to take legal action to protect the term. The court found that Benefit, which operates a global chain of Brow Bars, has only registered the trademark in Mexico and Hong Kong.
Benefit is now appealing the court’s decision.