Actress Mischa Barton’s company has won the right to trade mark her name, signature and logo in Australia after a two and half year battle withan Australian hand bag company.
Queensland’s Mischa Accessories Pty Ltd argued that Barton’s trade marks were deceptively similar to their own trade mark which is used for handbags and fashion accessories. It also argued that the reputation it had in its own trade mark meant that the use of Barton’s trade marks would be likely to deceive or cause confusion among consumers of handbags and fashion accessories. The company also attempted to rely on earlier UK court proceedings between the parties to argue that Barton was aware of the Mischa Accessories trade mark in Australia before her company tried to register the marks here and had made the trade mark applications in bad faith.
The Trade Marks Office found that the unusual combination of the first name MISCHA with the common surname BARTON was striking and memorable and that it would not be confused with the MISCHA ACCESSORIES trade mark. The Office found that Mischa Barton had not acted in bad faith by applying through her company to register her own name here.
More and more celebrities are putting their names to products. They register trade marks to protect the use of their name in connection with items such as perfume and sunglasses and can sign lucrative licensing agreements with product manufacturers for the use of their name.
The Trade Marks Office decision should be available at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/ATMO/ in the next few weeks.