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Passing off, malicious falsehood, copyright infringement, skin care products, intellectual property

This case concerned a dispute over the creation and marketing of an anti-aging skin serum called 'Elixir'. Yours Naturally Naturally Yours Limited ('YNNY') alleged that Kate McIver Skin Limited ('KMS') and the estate of Kate McIver falsely claimed Ms. McIver as the creator of Elixir Serum, constituting passing off, unlawful interference with YNNY's business, malicious falsehood, and copyright infringement.

The key factual matrix to the case involves YNNY, a company incorporated by Georgina Tang, which manufactures and sells skin care products, including the Elixir serum created by Ms. Tang. KMS, set up by the late Kate McIver, also sold skin care products and claimed Ms. McIver as the creator of a similar serum. YNNY argued that this was false and that KMS's marketing materials infringed on YNNY's copyright works.

The court found that YNNY had established goodwill in the Elixir serum by the relevant date and that Ms. McIver's express representation that she was the creator of the Elixir serum was false. The court ruled in favor of YNNY on the claim of passing off, finding that the misrepresentations were likely to cause damage to YNNY's business and the distinctiveness of the Elixir brand name. However, YNNY's claim for malicious falsehood and causing loss by unlawful means was dismissed due to a lack of evidence for pecuniary loss and the requisite intention to cause loss. The copyright infringement claim succeeded but only for acts after 30 November 2018, when the license granted by Ms. Tang to use the marketing text ended.

Legal representatives: Daniel Metcalfe (instructed by Irvine Yates Solicitors) for the Claimant, Michael Smith (instructed by Ap Law) for the Defendants


Case Citation Reference: [2023] EWHC 890 (IPEC)

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