Lancome’s “Miracle Cushion” (L’Oreal Paris)
AmorePacific, South Korea’s top cosmetics firm, said Tuesday that it was considering legal action against French cosmetics house Lancome over a possible patent infringement of its signature air cushion compact.
AmorePacific officials said it would decide whether to file a patent lawsuit against L’Oreal Korea, the Korean unit of L’Oreal Group, which is set to release the Miracle Cushion on Jan. 19.
“We will analyze the product after the launch and then consider taking legal action,” AmorePacific spokeswoman Seok Hyun-joo said.
AmorePacific Sulwhasoo’s “Perfecting Cushion” (AmorePacific)
L’Oreal Korea, meanwhile, declined to comment, adding that it was difficult to reveal whether the product would be sold in Korea.
Earlier this month, Lancome began selling the Miracle Cushion for 45.87 euros ($54.29) in select shops in France.
Market insiders say it is rare for L’Oreal, which has an annual sales figure 10 times larger than AmorePacific’s, to release a “me-too” product.
Air cushion foundations are among AmorePacific’s best-selling beauty products. More than 2,500 air cushions from 13 of its brands were sold globally last year, reaching 900 billion won ($831,000) in sales.
Starting with IOPE’s air cushion in 2008, AmorePacific created a huge sensation in the makeup industry with the air cushion products made by its affiliates, including Sulwhasoo, Hera and its eponymous brand.
But beneath the high sales figures, a set of patent battles has been looming.
AmorePacific has been in a three-year-long battle against LG Household & Care over the alleged copycat product.
The company may also seek to file a patent suit against Dior, another high-end French cosmetics firm, which is rumored to be releasing a cushion compact soon.
So far, AmorePacific has submitted 144 patent applications in countries where air cushion products have been launched or planned to be released, including China, Japan and the U.S. Only 13 cases have been patented, according to the firm.
By Suk Gee-hyun (email@example.com