Supreme Court refuses to stay injunction against use of 'Belle' for fashion magazine

Israel

In Venos Fashion DR Ltd v Hachette Filipacchi Presse SA (Case 4158/10, June 17 2010), the Supreme Court has upheld a decision of the Tel Aviv District Court in which the latter had enjoined the defendant from publishing and distributing periodicals under the name Belle.

Hachette Filipacchi Presse SA, which publishes the fashion magazine Elle, owns a registration for the trademark ELLE. The district court issued an interim injunction preventing the publication and distribution of a new top-end fashion magazine (the first issue of which was published in the Hebrew language in April 2010) under:

  • the name Belle, due to its confusing similarity with the ELLE mark; or
  • any other name that is confusingly similar to ELLE.

The court found that ELLE and BELLE were confusingly similar both phonetically and visually (due to the similar fonts and the position of the name Belle on the front cover). The court also ordered that the first issue of Belle magazine be recalled.

The publishers of Belle magazine requested leave to appeal and filed a motion to stay the injunction, alleging that it would suffer serious damage if it was not allowed to publish a second issue. The Supreme Court refused to stay the injunction against the use of the name Belle for a fashion magazine, holding that the name was misleadingly similar to the registered mark ELLE.

However, the court allowed the publishers of Belle magazine to publish the second issue under the name BelleMode in a different format, which was, on the face of it, not confusingly similar to ELLE. The injunction was thus stayed insofar as it allowed the publication of the second issue.

Nevertheless, the court held that, following the publication of the second issue, Hachette would be able to file a response, and the question of confusing similarity would be reconsidered based on a comparison of the front pages of the two magazines.

No costs were awarded.

David Gilat and Sonia Shnyder, Gilat Bareket & Co, Reinhold Cohn Group, Tel Aviv

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