Saturday, October 22, 2011


Willa vs Wella: start-up wins out-of-court settlement against P&G

Procter & Gamble were all set to take a Connecticut housewife to court over her use of the name Willa for a range of pre-teen skin care products, claiming it sounded too much like its brand Wella. However, the housewife is victorious following an out-of-court settlement. Earlier this year Christy Prunier received a cease and desist letter from P&G, which claimed that the product branding, packaging and name were too similar to a range of products being marketed under its Wella hair care range. P&G lawyers claimed that the similarities would lead to confusion amongst its established customer base for the brand because of the the two ranges could be mistaken for one another on retail shelves.

Product range named after 11-year old daughter.

Prunier had spent three years developing the product, which was named after her own 11-year old daughter, and had obtained trademark approval from the US government at the beginning of the year, allowing her to put the complete range to market. However, in a classic David and Goliath story line, the roll-out of the natural-based product line, which includes skin care products and a lip balm, was stalled as the two companies readied for battle. The two were due to face one another in court in Manhattan, New York City last week, but as the media attention gathered, in turn drumming up a clear sympathy for the ‘little guy’, P&G chose to settle out of court.