Victoria Beckham fights court battle with a skincare company Down Under over the trademark ‘VB’ brand
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Victoria Beckham, who is seeking taxpayer help to pay dozens of staff at her loss-making fashion label during the coronavirus crisis, is keen to stop others exploiting her name.
I hear the wife of former England captain David Beckham has taken a skincare company to court over two trademarks featuring the letters ‘VB’, arguing that consumers would be confused into thinking she endorsed the products.
Sydney-based VB Skinlab is seeking to register the trademarks ‘VB Salon’ and ‘VB Skinlab’ in Australia to market beauty salon services, skincare products and cosmetics.
I hear the wife of former England captain David Beckham has taken a skincare company to court over two trademarks featuring the letters ‘VB’, arguing that consumers would be confused into thinking she endorsed the products
The former Spice Girl, who uses her initials to market a luxury womenswear range and a line of cosmetics developed with beauty behemoth Estée Lauder, unsuccessfully opposed the registration of the trademarks last month.
IP Australia — the government agency that administers intellectual property rights — said it was ‘not satisfied that any confusion’ would arise between the company’s logos and Mrs Beckham’s own VB trademark.
She also sought to oppose the registration of the trademarks on the basis that the company was acting in bad faith. IP Australia rejected that argument.
It was also ‘unpersuaded’ that the company’s use on its website of a photo ‘of an attractive female model with long dark hair’ was ‘in any way a reference’ to the star.
IP Australia ordered Posh to pay the company’s legal costs. Mrs Beckham has lodged an appeal in the Federal Circuit Court.
In documents filed in court, her lawyers say she has ‘extensively used and promoted the VB word mark in Australia and overseas in relation to various beauty and fashion related goods, including cosmetics’. One of Sydney-based VB Skinlab’s face serum products is pictured left, while a Victoria Beckham shopper-style tote bag is pictured right
In documents filed in court, her lawyers say she has ‘extensively used and promoted the VB word mark in Australia and overseas in relation to various beauty and fashion related goods, including cosmetics’.
They say [Skinlab’s] VB logos ‘would be likely to deceive or confuse Australian consumers . . . into believing’ its products were sold or ‘sponsored’ by the star.
They also say the company was aware of Mrs Beckham’s use of the VB trademark and ‘intended to benefit from falsely representing to consumers that it was associated with [her]’.
Victoria Beckham (pictured), who is seeking taxpayer help to pay dozens of staff at her loss-making fashion label during the coronavirus crisis, is keen to stop others exploiting her name
‘If you have a £1.5m handbag collection, you can afford to pay staff’: Victoria Beckham is slammed for ‘disgraceful’ move to furlough 30 workers at her struggling fashion label at taxpayers’ expense – despite £335m fortune
By Katie Hind for the Mail On Sunday and Joe Davies for MailOnline
Victoria Beckham was slammed on social media after furloughing 30 staff at her struggling fashion label – despite having a staggering family fortune of £335 million.
The former Spice Girl, whose handbag collection alone is thought to be worth £1.5 million, is to claim what could amount to tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay a quarter of her employees under the Government’s job retention scheme.
Staff from across her fashion label – which charges £1,500 for a dress – have received letters explaining that they would be paid 80 per cent of their salaries by the Government, in line with Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s scheme to help firms during the pandemic.
Critics slammed Mrs Beckham for taking advantage of the taxpayer-funded scheme rather than using her own wealth to pay staff, having recently bought a penthouse in Miami for £20million with her husband.
Victoria Beckham has furloughed 30 staff at her struggling fashion label – despite having a staggering family fortune of £335 million. Pictured with husband David and daughter Harper
People on social media have slammed Victoria for taking advantage of a tax-funded scheme rather than use her own wealth to pay staff
Mrs Beckham is understood to be topping up their wages in an ‘enhanced package’ by paying the remaining 20 per cent – though she is not obliged to do so.
Employees in the marketing department and customer services have been affected, as well as staff at her Mayfair shop which closed after Britain went into lockdown.
A spokesman for Mrs Beckham confirmed last night that staff will be furloughed for two months ‘so far’.
The way the scheme works means that the workers will remain employed and Mrs Beckham will be able to claim back 80 per cent of their wages from the Government, up to £2,500 a month for each furloughed employee.
Mrs Beckham is understood to be topping up their wages in an ‘enhanced package’ by paying the remaining 20 per cent – though she is not obliged to do so. Victoria Beckham’s store, Hong Kong
Mrs Beckham shows fans around her London Dover Street flagship London store. She is currently suing the firm that fitted the store after a steel panel fell to the ground endangering her staff
The scheme could help cover the wage bill for the 30 staff until the end of June.
Two weeks ago, Mrs Beckham and her ex-footballer husband David splashed out £17 million on a penthouse in Miami to add to their impressive property portfolio, which includes a £25 million mansion in Holland Park, West London, and a £6 million barn conversion in the Cotswolds, where the family has been living during the lockdown.
Model on the catwalk Victoria Beckham show, Runway, Spring Summer 2020
Mrs Beckham has been flooding social media with pictures of her family as they stay at home. One snap showed her making a lemon drizzle cake and rigatoni pasta.
Mrs Beckham, who turned 46 on Friday, also posted a picture of herself clapping for carers for her 26 million Instagram followers to see. A source close to the family told The Mail on Sunday: ‘One minute she and David are posting pictures of very expensive bottles of red wine on Instagram, the next she’s using the furlough scheme, funded by taxpayers.
‘She has also been seen clapping the brave NHS workers, but by using the Government scheme she is taking public money when she has hundreds of millions in the bank. It seems very ill-advised.’
The Beckhams reportedly spent £100,000 on a 21st birthday bash for their eldest child, Brooklyn (pictured)
Mrs Beckham’s eponymous company, based in Hammersmith, West London, has not made a profit since it launched in 2008.
In 2018, it suffered losses of £12.3 million. The year before that, Mrs Beckham lost £10.3 million, but the business was propped up by her 44-year-old husband.
Despite the clearly unprofitable business model, Mrs Beckham is determined to keep the label going.
And the business’s poor performance hasn’t stopped her and David from living an ostentatious lifestyle, with much of it flaunted to their fans via social media.
Victoria took to Instagram to share a picture of herself enjoying isolation activities with the caption: ‘Family bike ride on my birthday’
In January they were seen swigging a £2,000 bottle of Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru red wine while dining at the exclusive Chez L’Ami Louis restaurant in Paris.
Mrs Beckham has a collection of Birkin handbags, which are understood to range from £10,000 to £80,000, and regularly uses private jets.
Last month, just two weeks before lockdown, the Beckhams reportedly spent £100,000 on a 21st birthday bash for their eldest child, Brooklyn.
Rapper Stormzy performed at the lavish affair, which was understood to have been held in a marquee in the garden of their Oxfordshire home, close to celebrity haunt, Soho Farmhouse.
Designer Victoria Beckham at the end of her catwalk show during London Fashion Week in London
A spokesman for Mrs Beckham said last night: ‘We are working hard to ensure our much-valued Victoria Beckham team are protected during this unsettled time by keeping our business healthy.
‘Having carefully assessed all our options, we made the decision to furlough a proportion of staff on an enhanced package.’
Tory MP Robert Halfon said last night: ‘At a time when millions are struggling, it would be good if multi-millionaires helped the country rather than seeking to profit from hard-pressed taxpayers.’
Fellow Tory MP Tom Hunt added: ‘It is extremely regrettable that a prominent figure in the fashion world has taken this step, given the many selfless acts we are seeing across the country every single day.’
BEFORE the lockdown, the word ‘furlough’ was obscure and rarely used in the UK.
But as Britain’s coronavirus crisis has deepened, it has become part of everyday language for families worried about their financial futures.It refers to an unprecedented scheme announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month to protect jobs as the economy is ravaged by the impact of coronavirus.
Under the scheme, the state will cover up to 80 per cent of the salary of workers in March, April and May if companies keep them on the payroll instead of laying them off.
The payments are capped at a maximum of £2,500 a month.More than nine million workers are expected to be furloughed, or effectively put on taxpayer-funded leave.
Employers pay their workers but reclaim the subsidy from HM Revenue and Customs at the end of this month.
Last week, Mr Sunak announced the wage subsidy would be available until the end of June, adding that he will extend it again if necessary.
However, the extraordinary scheme comes with an eye-watering price tag.
According to The Resolution Foundation think-tank, it will cost taxpayers £40 billion for every three months that it is open.
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