LONDON — L’Oréal said Wednesday it plans to appeal a ruling this week by the British High Court in favor of Olaplex, the American start-up that had originally sued the French giant over its Bond Multiplier product.
The original lawsuit, filed in 2016, claims that L’Oréal’s Smartbond product infringes on their U.K. and the U.S. patent for Olaplex’s Bond Multiplier product, which protects hair during chemical treatments and repairs broken hair bonds.
In 2015, L’Oréal approached Olaplex with a takeover bid and during these talks, Olaplex claims the cosmetics giant gained access to its patented formula. The deal fell through and a few months later, L’Oréal launched a competing product, Smartbond.
Although the British High Court dismissed 10 out of 11 claims on Tuesday, it ruled in favor of the final claim, which relates to ingredients used in Olaplex’s formula.
British judges will decide at a later date whether to grant an injunction, stopping all sales of L’Oréal’s Smartbond products in the U.K.
L’Oréal issued a statement saying: “We strongly disagree with this decision, which is applicable only in the U.K., and we will be applying for permission to appeal.”
The group also said: “L’Oréal strongly denies the accusation by Olaplex regarding the access by L’Oréal to non-public confidential proprietary information mid-2015. L’Oréal never entered into a due diligence process with Olaplex. During the discussions that happened at that time, L’Oréal did not access any technical information outside of the public domain.”
Olaplex has declined to comment.
Olaplex and L’Oréal are still waging war in the U.S. courts, with the original suit claiming that L’Oréal misappropriated trade secrets under Delaware law, and breached the covenant of fair dealing.
In January 2017, Olaplex lost its appeal to move for a preliminary injunction in the U.S., which would temporarily cease the sale of L’Oreal’s Smartbond products, over the wording of its ingredients. Olaplex’s patent stated that its ingredients do not include “hair-coloring agents,” yet L’Oréal said its Smartbond product contains low concentrations of hair-coloring agents.
At the time, a spokesman from the company said: “We strongly oppose the merit of these claims and the validity of the patent and L’Oréal USA will defend this position vigorously.”