L’Oreal acquired Clarisonic from Pacific Bioscience Laboratories in 2011, which BrandPoint had been a distributor of from 2010 until 2012 until the agreement expired.
Following this, the Queensland business launched the PuraSonic facial cleansing brush along with promotional material that claimed the technology had similar “efficacy research” as Clarisonic but was "retailed at a lower price."
In the Federal Court, legal reps for L’Oréal claimed that BrandPoint; “made misleading, deceptive or false claims as to the performance of PuraSonic in a promotional email sent to retailers and on the product’s website."
The email allegedly featured research results similar to those referred to in the marketing material conducted before 2008 for the Clarisonic product.
The international beauty player also claimed that there was no 'appropriate trials, testing or analysis' of PuraSonic at the time the email was sent out.
Judge calls for evidence to back PuraSonic's claims...
In response, BrandPoint stated that the email was a 'draft sent in error' to 26 retailers and argued that L’Oréal had had the opportunity to purchase and conduct testing on PuraSonic in order to impugn the representations, but had chosen not to do so.
Counsel for the defendant, Ms Cochrane then submitted that there was no evidence that the representations regarding PuraSonic were misleading or false and that there was no evidence that the emails conflicted with the company's website representations.
On hearing both sides of the argument, Justice Jonathan Beach described BrandPoint’s evidence in relation to the efficacy research to be “thin, if not evasive” and that while there was evidence to support the later website representations, there was “only a vague implication” that testing may have been conducted at the time the email was sent.
“More generally, inaccurate or misleading representations about the performance of BrandPoint’s product would have been likely to have had a potential impact on the market for sonic facial cleansing brushes generally and therefore L’Oréal Australia’s commercial interests," Beach ruled.
The judge then ordered the discovery of relevant documents by BrandPoint by September 30th. CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com will follow this case as it progresses.