ARNOLD BLOCH Leibler last week successfully defended a passing-off and misleading and deceptive conduct action brought against Next Publishing by Pacific Publications, now Pacific Magazines.
Pacific, which publishes tween (children between childhood their teens) magazine Total Girl, sought to prevent Next from publishing rival magazine Girl Power. Pacific claimed it had established a substantial reputation in the tween market and that Next had exploited and copied its formula.
Expert evidence on the meaning and development of the expression “girl power” and its use in the popular culture of tween girls underpinned Next’s defence, including a screening of the Spice Girls video One Hour of Girl Power. The defendant’s witnesses testified to the development of the “girl power” concept and magazine at Next.
Justice Tamberlin held that while Pacific had established a substantial reputation with the masthead and tagline Total Girl it had not, to the exclusion of other tween magazines, acquired a reputation in the other commonly used tween features — the colours pink, purple, yellow and blue; rainbow, heart and star devices; or the words “girl power”.