9 October 2017

Californian company tears its hair out over Fingerbrush ‘infringement’

A business that markets hair salon tools has taken two companies to court for allegedly infringing its IP rights in a hairbrush called the Fingerbrush.

California-based Olivia Garden said that Stance Beauty Labs and Burlington Stores have infringed its design patents and trade dress in their sales of the Curved Vent Brush.

The company filed the complaint on Friday, October 6, at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco division.

Olivia Garden is the marketing and sales arm of a family business named Olivia Garden International, a salon tools manufacturer.

Its products are “often” used backstage at New York fashion week, the complaint said, adding that the founder of the business Jean Rennette has more than 55 patents in the US and worldwide, including the two designs in dispute.

According to the claim, Stance and Burlington are allegedly selling imitations of the Fingerbrush under the name Curved Vent Brush, despite not being authorised to do so.

Olivia Garden described its product as a “vented scalp-hugging paddle brush made of independently articulated fingers”.

“Stance’s actions are all the more culpable because, in light of the many hairbrush designs available, there is no need for Stance to imitate plaintiff’s trade dress and infringe plaintiff’s design patents.”

Rennette himself visited a Burlington factory in August and bought two of the allegedly offending products, the complaint said, adding that Olivia Garden has notified the defendants of the alleged infringement.

Olivia Garden, which claimed that Stance said it had sold 3,600 units of the Curved Vent Brush, wants an injunction and triple damages, among other forms of relief.

It’s not the first time that a hair product has been at the centre of an IP dispute.

In November last year, WIPR reported that two hair treatment companies had sued L’Oréal USA in a patent infringement lawsuit.

The patent in question protects methods for bleaching hair using maleic acid and the products are specifically designed to be used by professional hairdressers to protect and strengthen hair that has been dyed or bleached.

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25 November 2016   Two hair treatment companies have named cosmetics company L’Oreal USA in a patent infringement lawsuit.