Hogan Lovells has won a court victory for its client Olaplex, an innovative Californian start-up, in a patent infringement case against L'Oréal. The Court of Appeal in London has upheld the High Court ruling that the patent is valid and is infringed by L'Oréal's Smartbond product.
With over 1.6m followers on Instagram, Hogan Lovells' client Olaplex, based in Santa Barbara, launched its patented Bond Multiplier product in 2014. The formula was invented by the award-winning scientist Professor Craig Hawker, and has been used on celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen.
The product was an instant hit and created a whole new category of products designed to protect hair during bleach treatments. One of those following Olaplex into the new category was L'Oréal, launching its competing Smartbond product in 2015.
Following a previous decision in June 2018, Olaplex has been successful once again, this time in the Court of Appeal in London, which upheld the High Court ruling that the patent is valid and is infringed by L'Oréal's Smartbond product.
"After three years of litigation and appeals, we are grateful that yet another court found Olaplex's patents valid and infringed by L'Oréal. We look forward to the removal of their products from the market in the United Kingdom", says Tiffany Walden, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Olaplex LLC.
Hogan Lovells represented Olaplex in the case. Stephen Bennett, partner at Hogan Lovells, said: "The decision confirms that big players can't rip off true innovators with impunity."
The full Hogan Lovells team led by Stephen Bennett also included Dominic Hoar, senior associate, and Greig Shuter, associate, instructing Iain Purvis QC of 11 South Square and Katherine Moggridge of 3 New Square.
The case is one strand of a row that has also sparked litigation in the United States, including a trade secret claim.