Australian businesswoman wins trademark battle against cosmetics giant BeneFit, which is owned by 13th richest billionaire in the world

  • Owner Chernae Noonan stopped BeneFit Cosmetics from using 'Brow Bar'
  • The Queenslander said her business was often mistaken as beauty giant's
  • BeneFit Cosmetics is run by French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault 
  • He is the 13th richest billionaire in the world and is worth $37.4 billion
  • BeneFit are appealing the decision made by Australian Trade Marks Office

An Australian businesswoman has come out on top against the world's 13th richest billionaire after stopping BeneFit Cosmetics from using the term 'Brow Bar' exclusively.

Beautician Chernae Noonan, who founded eyebrow shaping business The Brow Bar, has blocked the cosmetic giant's application to trademark the phrase.

BeneFit is owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), which is run by luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault.

Australian beautician Chernae Noonan founded eyebrow shaping business The Brow Bar in 2003

Australian beautician Chernae Noonan founded eyebrow shaping business The Brow Bar in 2003

Mr Arnault's estimate wealth is thought to be $37.4 billion and makes him the second richest person in France, according to Forbes

The case between Ms Noonan and BeneFit was heard in the Australian Trade Marks Office earlier this year in February and ruled in the Queensland woman's favour.

Ms Noonan started her business in 2003 in her Springwood home and since then it has seen 'significant growth'.

She has rolled out six stores across Australia - including on the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne.

She has stopped BeneFit Cosmetics from using 'Brow Bar' exclusively after the company launched an application to trademark the term in Australia

She has stopped BeneFit Cosmetics from using 'Brow Bar' exclusively after the company launched an application to trademark the term in Australia

The Brow Bar services 'women of relatively high disposable income aged 25 to 55' along with a small group of men.

Ms Noonan took action against BeneFit when the cosmetics giant sought to trademark 'Brow Bar' in Australia in 2011.

BeneFit is owned by luxury goods company LVMH, which is run by the world's 13th richest billionaire, Bernard Arnault (pictured)

BeneFit is owned by luxury goods company LVMH, which is run by the world's 13th richest billionaire, Bernard Arnault (pictured)

She said customers would confuse her business, The Brow Bar, with BeneFit Brow Bar at Myer stores in Western Australia, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

According to the ruling, Ms Noonan said journalists, media writers and online forum contributors often confused the two.

Lawyers for BeneFit told the Australian Trade Marks Office the company had already trademarked the term in Hong Kong and Mexico, and had been using the name in its United States stores since 2003.

Hearing officer Nicole Worth said she did not consider the word 'Brow Bar' to be used commonly enough to be deemed as 'generic' as lawyers for BeneFit argued.

She added the addition of the word 'BeneFit' to 'Brow Bar' also did not help differentiate the cosmetic giant's services from Ms Noonan's business.

'Additionally, although [BeneFit] did not know of [Ms Noonan's] trademark when it adopted the phrase "browbar" in the USA, it is reasonable to expect that it ought to have checked the Australian market for conflicting trade marks before entering it,' Ms Worth said.

'It also continued to expand its business under the [trademark] in the knowledge that a prior conflicting mark was registered and being used... That it did so is a risk it chose to bear.'

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms Noonan for further comment but she did not wish to as BeneFit is appealing the decision.

A statement on the matter has also been sought from the cosmetics brand.

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now