A BRAWL over blush, a punch-up over powder, a fracas over foundation; global make-up company Estee Lauder has launched legal action against Target, claiming the Australian retailer sold counterfeit M·A·C Cosmetics at its stores and online, and in the process harmed its brand.
The accusations, contained in a statement of claim lodged with the Federal Court, caused a frenzy across social media sites and blogs yesterday as angry customers reacted to the news they might have bought fake M·A·C from Target.
According to court documents, Estee Lauder, which bought the New York-based M·A·C in 1998, claims Target sold the fake cosmetics from at least August 8, advertising the range of blush, lipstick and foundations in its catalogues at prices 40 per cent below other retailers. Estee Lauder is seeking to protect its M·A·C brand, one of the most popular make-up labels in Australia, as well as maintain commercial loyalty to the official distributors of the cosmetic range locally – Myer and David Jones.
M·A·C posted a message on its website this week about what it discovered.
”M·A·C Cosmetics has conducted extensive testing in our US laboratories and found that M·A·C marked products that were, until recently, being sold at Target Australia are counterfeit,” the site warned.
A spokeswoman for Target said it believed the M·A·C product supplied to it was sourced lawfully by a domestic supplier from a legitimate M·A·C wholesaler overseas. ”Before going on sale in our stores and online, the product was tested by our supplier, who provided assurance it was genuine,” she said.
”In relation to the allegations raised regarding the authenticity of the M·A·C products sold in our stores, we are currently investigating, including further testing of the products by our supplier.”
Estee Lauder is now claiming damages, accusing Target of infringing its trademarks. The ACCC is aware of the issue.
Kliger Partners special counsel Daniel Kovacs said trademark law generally allowed a retailer to sell genuine, non-counterfeit product featuring a registered trademark, even if the goods had been sourced through channels other than the manufacturer or its Australian authorised distributor.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.