The Botox capital of the world, Westport is celebrating a ruling by the European Court of Justice which found that L’Oreal had attempted to register trademarks that sound similar to the world-famous wrinkle buster.
Westport is home to the factory that produces the refined form of botulism that is favoured by celebrities such as Simon Cowell and the stars of Desperate Housewives to maintain a youthful complexion.
L’Oreal’s attempt to trademark the words “botolist” and “botocyl” for cosmetic products caused a raised eyebrow at Allergan headquarters. Allergan challenged L’Oreal’s attempt to gain a slice of the global wrinkle eradication market, which is expected to be worth €3bn by 2017.
Allergan does not expect the ruling will have any immediate effect on its business but the protection of a trademark name like Botox, which has entered the public consciousness, is priceless to any corporation.
A spokesperson for Allergan said the ruling reinforces the company’s right to the term which is now used to describe a treatment and even a look.
“Allergan is delighted with the decision by the European Court of Justice which has rejected L’Oreal’s attempts to register trademarks that are similar to Allergan’s ‘Botox®’ trademark. Botox is a registered trademark, owned by Allergan, and relates specifically to our botulinum toxin type A product. This court ruling reinforces Allergan’s position that the Botox name should only be used in relation to Allergan’s product,” the spokesperson said.
Botox is a low dose of the neurotoxin botulism, the dose level is perfectly safe for humans and one of its side effects is the removal of wrinkles.
The product is not just used for fighting the signs of aging. Allergan has been keen to stress that its most famous product has been licensed by the Irish Medicines Board for the treatment of chronic migraine, and for overactive bladders caused by multiple sclerosis or some spinal cord injuries.
The Botox market is set to grow and Allergan already employs over 900 people in manufacturing, development, financial services and customer support.
In January, the company announced a €270m expansion of the Westport Botox production facility. The new facility will create 200 new jobs over the next four years as the company increases production to meet soaring demand for the cosmetic treatment.
The most recent accounts filed by Allergan’s Irish subsidiary show the holding company’s turnover rose 33% in 2010 from €263m to €350m in the 12 months to the end of Dec 2010.
The main factor behind a pre-tax loss of over $252m (€189m) was an exceptional expense of €283m due to legal settlement charges relating to the past US sales and marketing of certain therapeutic uses of Botox.
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